Bike To School Challenge receives industry advocacy award
The Century Cycles Bike To School Challenge was presented the Next Generation Advocacy Award on Sept. 22 at the Interbike Awards Gala ceremony in Las Vegas.
Interbike is the annual trade show for the North American bicycle industry and the awards honor athletes, bicycle brands, distributors, retailers, public officials and other organizations and individuals for product innovation, competitive performance and their efforts to advance the bicycle industry.
The Next Generation Advocacy Award honors the efforts of organizations, schools, corporations and individuals that have gone above and beyond to get more kids on bikes. The bicycle industry’s future will be shaped by the work being done now to create more and innovative ways to get our kids riding bikes more often. All nominees and winners were selected by the staff of People for Bikes, the bicycle industry's non-profit advocacy organization.
Other finalists for the Next Generation Advocacy Award were the Washington, D.C., Public Schools Cornerstone: Biking in the Park Program; The Bureau of Good Roads Youth Education Program; and the Youth Bike Summit.
Century Cycles is the primary sponsor of the Bike To School Challenge. Owner Scott Cowan was unable to attend the Interbike Awards Gala in person, but accepted the award via a pre-recorded video on behalf of the many other organizers and sponsors of the program.
Cowan noted the impact of the Bike To School Challenge in changing attitudes about transportation in the local communities involved. This was evident in the parking racks full of bicycles in mid-September at Rocky River Middle School, where Scott's video remarks were filmed, even though the Bike To School Challenge program takes place in May.
Scott remarked, "I challenge bicycle dealers across the country to start their own Bike To School programs to see the numerous benefits in their own communities."
Scott also acknowledged the contributions made by the numerous other people involved in organizing and sponsoring the Bike To School Challenge. "Raleigh Bicycles has been the exclusive bicycle sponsor of the Bike To School Challenge since its beginning in 2008. Also, the program would not be possible without the efforts of students, faculty, and administration at all seven of the schools involved. We have also had tremendous support from city officials and local police departments."
Inspired by a student car boycott to protest high gas prices in 2007, Cowan approached his alma mater Bay High School about what he could do 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 the following year. In 2010, Bike To School Challenge won the city’s Project of the Year award from the Bay Village Community Council.
Over 5,000 middle school and elementary school students in Bay Village, Rocky River, and Medina will participate in the 2017 Bike to School Challenge, committing to ride their bikes to school to help the environment, get more physical activity to improve their health, have fun, and win prizes. The program is now the biggest bike-to-school program in the United States