Bay Bike To School Challenge begins this week

Students in Bay Village bike home from the middle school during the Bay Bike To School Challenge in 2012.

The Bay Bike To School Challenge celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, as over 1,200 middle school and elementary school students in Bay Village saddle up and ride their bikes to school to promote good health, active transportation and environmental awareness.

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.

The Bike To School Challenge program on April 27 with the Bay Village Bicycle Fair at the middle school. Residents were invited to bring their bicycles for free safety inspections by professional bike mechanics from Century Cycles in Rocky River. The first 20 families to attend were given free bike helmets.

During May, which is also National Bike Month, students are encouraged to ride their bikes to school to get more physical activity, have fun and win prizes. The Bike To School Challenge for Bay Middle School began on May 1 and ends on May 19. The two-week Bike To School Challenge for Westerly Elementary School begins on May 8 and ends on May 19.

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. 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 Giant bicycles per school, plus prizes donated by other program sponsors. Safety is also rewarded: Students earn twice as many entries if they wear a bicycle helmet.

May 10 has been designated as National Bike To School Day, and the schools expect record participation. On last year's National Bike To School day, 51 percent of the student body rode their bikes to school, even on an unseasonably cold and wet day.

Overall in 2016, students in the Bay Bike To School Challenge pedaled almost 24,000 miles during the three-week program, saving their parents almost $2,100 in gasoline, and burned over half a million calories, the equivalent of over 3,300 cans of Coca-Cola.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 9:57 AM, 05.02.2017