Despite the threat of stormy weather on Monday, Bay Village and Rocky River students once again embraced the annual Bike to School Challenge.
Preliminary numbers are good, with 52 percent of Bay Middle School students, 16 percent of Bay High School students and 33 percent of Rocky River Middle School students riding their bikes to school early this week.
The objectives of the challenge are to help the environment, improve students' health, encourage students to be more physically active, beat high gas prices, win prizes -- and have fun. And it appears the effort is successful once again.
Scott Cowan, a Bay High alumnus and owner of Century Cycles which organizes and supports the challenge, said everyone involved with the effort is pleased with the results.
"It is an awe-inspiring sight to see hundreds of bicycles parked in front of these schools. It sends a powerful message about the impact youth can have on the community with the simple act of riding a bike," Cowan said.
Students receive a ride card that is stamped each day they ride their bikes. Extra points are awarded for wearing a helmet. The more they bike, the more chances they have to earn rewards and win prizes. There are T-shirts, Subway sandwiches, Honey Hut ice cream items, bike accessories, gift cards and a grand prize Cedar Point gift card at stake.
It's a win-win situation, plus it's fun.
The challenge began in 2008 in Bay and last year in Rocky River. Participation exceeded the organizers' expectations each year. In 2010, Bay Village Community Council gave the effort its Project of the Year Award.
The program will conclude later this month with special assemblies at each school that will show the environmental impact of the students' efforts, offer them congratulations and draw the names of prize winners.
Kudos to Cowan, the other organizers and sponsors, as well as students, faculty, staff and parents in Bay Village and Rocky River for enthusiastically supporting this worthwhile effort.