Monday, May 9, 2011

Over 2,000 students take Bike to School Challenge starting today

Over 2,000 middle and high school students in the Cleveland, Ohio suburbs of Rocky River and Bay Village are taking the Bike to School Challenge sponsored by Century Cycles on May 9 – May 27, committing to ride their bikes to school for three weeks to help the environment, improve their health and beat high gas prices.

The award-winning program kicks off this morning at Rocky River Middle School (1631 Lakeview Avenue; student arrival on bicycles: 7:30 to 8:05 a.m.), Bay Middle School (27725 Wolf Road; student arrival on bicycles: 7:00 to 7:40 a.m.), and Bay High School (29230 Wolf Road; student arrival on bicycles: 7:10 to 7:45 a.m.).

Bike To School Challenge vs. National Averages
In 2010, 58% of Bay Middle School students biked to school during Bike to School Challenge (481 students biked per day on average; 600 biked on the challenge’s first day). In stark contrast, studies show only about 15% of U.S. children bike or walk to school today, versus approximately 50% in 1969. 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)

Two-Wheeled Transportation Can Transform Schools
• 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.”
• Two recent studies have found that biking or walking to school is associated with higher overall physical activity throughout the day. There are many potential benefits of physical activity for youth, including weight control, reduction in the risk of diabetes, and better academic performance.

About Bike To School Challenge
Now in its fourth year in Bay Village, Bike to School Challenge shows students, their parents and the community as a whole that going by bike is a great way to go, especially for short trips around town. The program has had a big impact: Last year, Bay students saved $3,857 in fuel costs in just three weeks (and that was when gas cost $2.75/gallon). In the challenge’s past three years, Bay Village students have biked 80,052 miles and saved an estimated 82,352 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. And its message is spreading – the program has now expanded to Rocky River Middle School, as well as inspired a school in Oklahoma.

“Everyone looks forward to Bike to School Challenge in May. As educators, we know physical activity positively impacts academic performance,” said Jason Martin, Assistant Principal at Bay High School and one of the program’s organizers. “The kids have fun biking to school with their friends, but they are also learning the benefits of lifelong fitness and the effect their choice of transportation has on the environment.”

New Sponsors in 2011
National bicycle manufacturer Raleigh Bicycles has joined Century Cycles, Chipotle, Honey Hut, and Bay Lanes as corporate sponsors. In Bay Village, the Bay Village Kiwanis, Bay Schools Parent Teacher Student Association, Project Earth Environmental Club and the Bay Skate and Bike Park Foundation are also sponsors. In Rocky River, Fuel Up to Play 60 and the Rocky River PTA are also sponsors.

How It Works
Students who register for Bay Bike to School Challenge and Rocky River Bike to School Challenge carry a “Ride Card” that is stamped each day they ride a bike to school. Students receive a free event t-shirt from Century Cycles for biking at least four days. The more they bike, the more they can win – every Ride Card they fill up earns them more entries into a grand prize raffle, and they earn twice as many entries if they wear a bicycle helmet.

There are also daily incentives: Honey Hut Ice Cream is throwing after-school ice cream parties for those students who bicycle on May 11 (Bay High School), May 13 (Rocky River Middle School) and May 18 (Bay Middle School). Bay Lanes is giving away a game of bowling to every student who bicycles on the last day of BTS, May 27, which is also “1,000 Bikes in Bay” – a day that the entire city and school district joins the bike to school effort.

The program concludes on May 27 with assemblies at each school, to show the students the 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;
• Bicycling accessories (locks, bags, lights and more) from Century Cycles;
• Chipotle burrito party for 25;
• Honey Hut ice cream party for 20;
• Bay Lanes bowling party for 10; and much more!
• There is also a special grand prize drawing for a Cedar Point season pass for the students at each school who biked every day of Bay Bike to School Challenge.

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 Bay High School, his alma mater, about encouraging more bike-riding to school. It 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 and spread to Rocky River Middle School in 2011.

For regular updates about Rocky River Bike to School Challenge and Bay Bike to School Challenge, visit

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