Bay students biked 26,673 miles for Bike To School Challenge

If you travelled down Wolf Road during May, you couldn’t help but notice the swarms of student-bicyclists on the sidewalks and the hundreds of bicycles parked at Bay Middle School. That could only mean one thing – Bay Bike To School Challenge was back for its fifth year.

The program concluded at Bay Middle and High Schools on May 25 with a celebration of the students’ bicycling accomplishments. Students at both schools logged a combined 26,673 miles on their bikes during the three-week challenge and on average 59 percent of Bay Middle School (474 students) biked each day. It was an effort that had a huge impact on their selves, the community and the environment – burning hundreds of thousands of calories, preventing a significant amount of carbon dioxide emissions and saving their parents a lot of gas money.

It also won the students, their teachers and their schools some great prizes. Main sponsors Century Cycles bicycle store in Rocky River and bicycle manufacturer Raleigh Bicycles teamed up to give away two grand prize bicycles per school. Winners of the Raleigh bicycles at Bay High School were Cullen Brewer and Claire Mercer, both freshmen. At Bay Middle School, sixth-grader Ellen Brabant and fifth-grader Kate Baeppler won new Raleigh bikes.

In addition, Raleigh Bicycles awarded $1,000 Bike To School Challenge scholarships to Bay High School seniors Gideon Lorette and Jamie Kerka. The company gave each school a $500 award for exceeding its bicycling goals during the challenge, to use for fitness and bicycling programs, and committed $750 to the Bay Skate and Bike Park Foundation and Bay Village Green Team for the “Share The Road” signs throughout the city.

Raleigh Bicycles also honored teachers Eryn Sutterlin at Bay High School and Lawrence Kuh at Bay Middle School for their commitment to youth bicycling and their leadership of the Bike To School Challenge program in Bay Village. Both were presented with new Raleigh road bikes in recognition of their hard work and tireless enthusiasm since the program was founded in 2008.

“Bike To School Challenge is unique and the best of its kind in the nation,” said Chris Speyer, executive vice president of Raleigh Bicycles, who was in Bay Village from the company’s headquarters near Seattle, Wash., to personally present the awards. “We work with over 1,400 bike stores around the country. I have never seen a program that generates the level of participation and excitement that this one does. It is a credit to the tremendous amount of commitment by the schools, local businesses like Century Cycles and the entire community to engage and inspire the students. Raleigh Bicycles is extraordinarily proud to be part of Bike To School Challenge and will be back next year as a sponsor.”

Speyer also noted that bike stores in New Hampshire, Oklahoma, California and Minnesota are inspired by Bay Village's program and are eager to use it as a template for their own bike-to-school efforts.

Based on daily bike counts and student surveys, program organizers report that an average of 474 students of Bay Middle School biked each day of the challenge, a whopping 59 percent of the school’s enrollment. Bay Middle School’s highest ride day during the challenge was May 18, when 611 students (77 percent of the school) bicycled. At Bay High School, an average of 135 students per day biked, or 16 percent of the school. National surveys show that only about 10 percent of children bike or walk to school, down dramatically since the 1960s.

Bay students saved an estimated 29,340 pounds of heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions from the environment by bicycling to school for three weeks. They also saved their parents $4,466 on gasoline, based on the current Ohio average gas price of $3.75/gallon.

Considering the average 100-pound person burns about 17 calories per mile during moderate bicycling, Bay students also burned 453,441 calories just bicycling to and from school. Studies show that physically active students do better academically and everyday exercise helps combat rampant childhood obesity.

In addition to Century Cycles and Raleigh Bicycles, other sponsors that contributed prizes and support to make the program possible included Honey Hut Ice Cream, Subway of Bay Village, Bay Village Kiwanis, Bay PTA, Project Earth Environmental Club and the Bay Skate and Bike Park Foundation. Grand prizes were also donated by Bay Village Recreation Department, SportsTime Ohio, Cleveland Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Earth Day Coalition and Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park.

Bike To School Challenge sponsored by Century Cycles is an award-winning, three-week program that seeks to inspire over 4,000 students in Bay Village, Rocky River and Medina to bike to school as much as possible to improve their health, help the environment and have fun. They carry cards that are stamped for each bike-ride to school and can be redeemed for prizes. For more information about Bike To School Challenge and to see photos and videos, go to or follow the program at

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Volume 4, Issue 11, Posted 9:58 AM, 05.30.2012