Media Alert: May 6, 2013

MEDIA ALERT

CONTACTS:
Tracey Bradnan, 440-781-7690 or tracey@centurycycles.com
Karen Derby-Lovell, 440-617-7307 or karen.derby-lovell@bayschoolsohio.org
Dianna Foley, 440-356-6702 or foley.dianna@rrcs.org
Jeanne Hurt, 330-636-3112 or hurtj@mcsoh.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MAY 6, 2013

2013 Bike to School Challenge begins today for over 4,000 students in Bay Village, Medina and Rocky River schools; largest youth bicycling event in the U.S.

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – Over 4,000 middle and high school students in the Cleveland, Ohio suburbs of Bay Village, Medina and Rocky River begin the 2013 Bike to School Challenge this morning, 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 6-24, 2013, and is the nation’s biggest bike-to-school program in the United States. It returns for its sixth year at Bay Village schools, its third year at Rocky River Middle School, and its second year at Medina middle schools.

Kick-Off On Monday, May 6

A significant percentage of the schools’ students are expected to bicycle on the challenge’s first day tomorrow Monday, May 7. In 2011, a total of 1,001 students biked to school on the challenge’s first day, including 527 students to Bay Middle School (64% of the school), and 276 to Rocky River Middle School (44% of the school) – shattering the national trends for bicycling to school.

Reporters are welcome and photo opportunities are at:

Bay Middle School (27725 Wolf Road)
Student arrival on bicycles: 7:15 to 7:40am
Departure: 2:55pm

Bay High School (29230 Wolf Road)
Student arrival on bicycles: 7:10 to 7:45am
Departure: 3:11pm

Rocky River Middle School (1631 Lakeview Avenue)
Student arrival on bicycles: 7:30 to 8:05am
Departure: 3:18pm

Root Middle School (333 W. Sturbridge in Medina)
Student arrival on bicycles: 7:00 to 7:30am
Departure: 2:25pm

Claggett Middle School (420 E. Union Street in Medina)
Student arrival on bicycles: 7:15 to 7:40am
Departure: 2:35pm

A press release will be sent later this morning with an update on how many students biked to school this morning. For regular updates and more information about Bike To School Challenge, visit www.centurycycles.com/for/BTS or follow it at www.facebook.com/BikeToSchoolChallenge or on Twitter @BTSChallenge.

Another significant ride day for the challenge will be this Wednesday, May 8, which is National Bike To School Day. Last year 538 Bay Middle School students biked on that day and the school strives to exceed 600 this year, making it the most-biked school in the country for the nationwide event.

Bike To School Challenge Bucks National Bicycling Trends

  • 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, 59% of Bay Middle School biked each day (474 students per day on average) and 44% of Rocky River Middle School (273 students per day on average). Each school’s number of cyclists remains above national averages after the program’s conclusion, according to counts of the schools’ bike racks.
     
  • In just three weeks last May, students taking the Bike To School Challenge logged 15,868 roundtrip bicycle rides to school, biked 52,084 miles, burned 885,428 calories, prevented 57,292 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, and saved their parents $8,718.75 in gasoline.
     
  • 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.
     
  • 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 that includes two new bicycles per school from Raleigh Bicycles. Safety is also rewarded: They earn twice as many entries if they wear a bicycle helmet.

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 2012, and this year the bike manufacturer plans to award each Bike To School Challenge community with a $1,000 grant for bicycling improvements.

Bike To School Challenge Sponsors

Century Cycles bicycle store is the main corporate sponsor of Bike To School Challenge and organizes the program for the schools. The other main corporate sponsor is national bicycle manufacturer Raleigh Bicycles. Program-wide sponsors include Bike Cleveland and PeopleForBikes.org. At Bay schools, the program is also sponsored by Subway, Honey Hut, Bay Lanes, 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, Rize Pizzeria and the Rocky River PTA are also sponsors. In Medina, Subway, Domino’s Pizza, Dairy Queen, 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.