May is National Bicycle Month. For over 1,200 middle school and elementary school students in Bay Village, that means Bike To School Month as the annual Bay Bike To School Challenge returns for the ninth year. The Bay Bike To School Challenge began in 2008 at Bay High School and Bay Middle School, following on the heels of an informal student-organized protest at Bay High School in 2007 that saw students biking to school to beat the high price of gasoline. This year, the Bike To School Challenge returns to Bay Middle School and Westerly Elementary School.
During May, students are encouraged to ride their bikes to school to help the environment, get more physical activity to improve their health, have fun, and win prizes. The Bike To School Challenge for Bay Middle School began on Monday, May 2, and ends on Friday, May 20. The one-week Bike To School Challenge for Westerly Elementary School begins on Monday, May 16, and ends on Friday, May 20.
Students carry a "Ride Card" that is stamped each day they ride a bike to school. When they accumulate four bicycle rides to school, students receive a free T-shirt from the main Bike To School Challenge sponsor and organizer, Century Cycles of Rocky River. The more students bike, the more they can win – every Ride Card they fill up earns them more entries into a grand prize raffle that includes two new bicycles per school from Raleigh Bicycles. Safety is also rewarded: Students earn twice as many entries if they wear a bicycle helmet.
May 4 has been designated as National Bike To School Day, and the schools expect record participation. On last year's National Bike To School day, 580 Bay Middle School students, or 73 percent of the student body, rode their bikes to school.
Overall in 2015, students in the Bay Bike To School Challenge pedaled over 44,000 miles during the three-week program, saving their parents over $4,800 in gasoline, and burned over 1.2 million calories, the equivalent of almost 6,700 cans of Coca-Cola.