Sunday, May 6, 2012

2012 Bike To School Challenge starts tomorrow for over 4,000 Ohio students

Over 4,000 middle and high school students in the Cleveland, Ohio suburbs of Bay Village, Medina and Rocky River begin the 2012 Bike to School Challenge tomorrow, committing to ride their bikes to school for three weeks to help the environment, get more physical activity to improve their health, have fun and win prizes. The award-winning program is May 7 – May 25 and is launching for the first time this year at Medina’s middle schools. (It returns for its fifth year at Bay Village schools and its second year at Rocky River Middle School.)

Kick-Off On Monday, May 7
A significant percentage of the schools’ students are expected to bicycle on the challenge’s first day tomorrow Monday, May 7. Last year on Day 1, a total of 1,001 students biked to school, including 527 students to Bay Middle School (64% of the schoobl; pictured above), and 276 to Rocky River Middle School (44% of the school). The schools participating in Bike To School Challenge are:

Bay Middle School (27725 Wolf Road)

Bay High School (29230 Wolf Road)

Rocky River Middle School (1631 Lakeview Avenue)

Root Middle School (333 W. Sturbridge in Medina)

Claggett Middle School (420 E. Union Street in Medina)

For regular updates and more information about Bike To School Challenge, visit or follow it at

Bike To School Challenge vs. National Averages

·     In 2011, Bike To School Challenge dramatically increased the use of bicycles as a means of transportation to school. During the three-week program last year, 53% of Bay Middle School biked each day (430 students per day on average) and 31% of Rocky River Middle School (193 students per day on average). Each school’s number of cyclists remains above national averages after the program’s conclusion, according to random bike rack counts.

·    Since Bike To School Challenge began in 2008 in Bay Village, Bay students have pedaled a total of 102,803 miles during the three weeks each May. This is in stark contrast to national bicycling trends.

·    In 2009, only 13% of students in grades K through eight bike or walk to school (in 1969, that number was 48 percent), reports Safe Routes to School National Partnership. According to Bike To School Challenge surveys and bike counts, currently fewer than 5% of Root and Claggett Middle School students are biking to school, a statistic the program strives to improve.

·     A report concludes that changing the habits of just 20 percent of children living within two miles of school to get them to bicycle or walk to and from school instead of being driven would be the equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road each year, preventing the emission of over 350,000 tons of carbon dioxide and 21,500 tons of other pollutants. (Source: Safe Routes to School: Steps to a Greener Future, prepared for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by Safe Routes to School National Partnership)

 Other School-Related Bicycling Trends

·     As much as 30% of morning traffic is generated by parents driving their children to school. One-third of schools are in “air pollution danger zones.”

·    From 1976 to 2008, the percentage of overweight children 6 to 11 years old more than tripled. There are many potential benefits of physical activity for youth, including weight control, reduction in the risk of diabetes, stress reduction, relief of ADHD symptoms, and even better academic performance. In an article published January 2012 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, researchers found that participation in physical activity is positively related to academic performance in children.

·    Bicycling to school gives children time for physical activity and an opportunity to be outdoors, a sense of responsibility and independence, and the entire community benefits when there is less traffic congestion and better air quality.

How It Works
Students at Bike to School Challenge schools 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 main Bike To School Challenge sponsor and organizer Century Cycles bicycle store. The more they bike, the more they can win – every Ride Card they fill up earns them more entries into a grand prize raffle. Safety is also rewarded: They earn twice as many entries if they wear a bicycle helmet.

 There are also daily incentives to bike to school. Subway stores in Rocky River, Medina and Bay Village are offering a BOGO Footlong to each student who bikes tomorrow for Day 1. Honey Hut Ice Cream is throwing after-school ice cream parties for those students who bicycle on May 11 (Rocky River Middle School), May 17 (Bay High School) and May 18 (Bay Middle School); and Smuckers has provided an after-school snack for bicyclists to Medina middle schools on May 22.

The program concludes with assemblies at each school, to show the students the environmental impact of their efforts, receive congratulations from sponsors and dignitaries, and draw the grand prize winners’ names. The grand prizes include:
  • Two bicycles per school from Raleigh Bicycles;
  • Two $1,000 scholarships for Bay High School seniors from Raleigh Bicycles;
  • Bicycling accessories and gift cards from Century Cycles;
  • Gift cards and prize packages from Subway, Honey Hut, Cleveland Cavaliers, local rec centers, and more;
  • There is a special grand prize drawing for a Cedar Point gift card for the students at each school who biked every day of Bike to School Challenge.
  • The schools can also win a grand prize from Bike To School Challenge. Raleigh Bicycles has offered a $500 award for bicycling or physical education improvements at each school if it exceeds their bicycling benchmarks from 2011 (or pre-Bike To School levels).
Bike To School Challenge Sponsors
Century Cycles is the main corporate sponsor of Bike To School Challenge and helps organize the program for the schools. National bicycle manufacturer Raleigh Bicycles is the other major corporate sponsor. At Bay schools, the program is also sponsored by Subway, Honey Hut, the Bay Village Kiwanis, Bay Schools Parent Teacher Student Association, Project Earth Environmental Club and the Bay Skate and Bike Park Foundation. In Rocky River schools, Subway, Honey Hut and the Rocky River PTA are also sponsors. In Medina, Subway and Medina Schools are also sponsors

Bay Bike To School Challenge began in 2008
Inspired by a student car boycott to protest high gas prices in 2007, Century Cycles owner Scott Cowan approached his alma mater Bay High School about what he could to encourage more bicycling to school. Bike To School Challenge was born and was enthusiastically embraced by the students and faculty. Participation in 2008 exceeded organizers’ expectations. In 2009, the program was expanded to include Bay Middle School. It expanded to Rocky River Middle School in 2011 and to the Medina middle schools this year. In 2010, Bike To School Challenge won the city’s Project of the Year Award from the Bay Village Community Council.

No comments:

Post a Comment