ROCKY RIVER, OH (BRAIN) — More than 4,000 students at five schools in Cleveland’s suburbs rode to school during a three-week Bike to School Challenge that concluded Friday. Ohio retailer Century Cycles has organized the event to coincide with National Bike Month since 2008, but this year’s results set new records.
Students carry cards that are stamped for each ride to school and can be entered into the grand prize drawing that concludes the challenge.
According to daily bike counts and student surveys, students collectively rode 57,627 miles and took 17,573 roundtrip rides to school from May 6 to May 24. On average 1,172 students rode in, or 29 percent of the total enrollment of all five schools that participated. Participation overall was up 11 percent over 2012.
Organizers said students have biked 221,797 miles to school since the program was launched in 2008.
Standing out among the schools was Bay Middle School where each day of the challenge on average 538 students rode in, or about 66 percent of the school’s total 820 students. This represents a 13 percent increase over last year’s average of 474.
Bay Middle School’s students are a hearty bunch, with 27 percent riding in all 15 school days — rain or shine.
Raleigh Bicycles and Century Cycles awarded 16 Raleigh bikes to students as prizes and Raleigh gave $3,000 to the schools and $4,000 to the cities for bicycling improvements.
“I have never seen a bike-to-school program that generates the level of participation and excitement that this one does,” said Chris Speyer, chief operating officer of Accell North America, parent company of Raleigh. “Bike to School Challenge is a model of what we should be doing across the country.”
Century Cycles owner Scott Cowan said the goal is to establish bicycling as a habit among the area’s youth. Cowan runs three stores in Rocky River, Medina and Peninsula, Ohio.
“We are gratified to see far more bicycling year-round in these communities because of Bike to School Challenge,” Cowan said.