Professional mountain biker Ryan Leech jumps over kindergarten teacher Lynn Blair, as her pirate-dressed class looks on. Leech visited Lynn Valley Elementary School as a motivational launch to Bike to School Week.
Students across the North Vancouver School District are joining thousands of kids throughout Metro Vancouver to participate in Bike to School Week, which takes place May 30-June 3, 2016. The kid-friendly cycling event started in 2010 and coincides with Bike to Work Week.
Last year, 103 Metro Vancouver schools registered and averaged 230 cycling trips by students during the week. Top marks went to Lynn Valley Elementary School, which logged over 800 trips during the 2015 event. Nearly 50 per cent of students got to school by bike; a total of 76 per cent used some form of active transportation.
For being the top-school in last year's event, students at Lynn Valley Elementary were treated to a special welcome when they arrived to school on the first day of this year's Bike to School Week. HUB Cycling, the charitable non-profit organization that organizes Bike to School Week, was at the school handing out snacks to the hungry young cyclists as they arrived at school. Students who biked to school were also able to spin a wheel for prizes.
"Study after study shows the benefits of active lifestyles on children in our communities, including learning and health outcomes," said Scout Gray, Bike to School Week Manager. "Kids of all ages feel and do better at school, which supports teachers, parents, the community - everyone benefits."
To get the students amped-up for Bike to School Week, Lynn Valley Elementary had a visit the week prior from professional mountain biker Ryan Leech. Leech put on quite the show for the students – even jumping over their teachers and principals.
The students certainly gathered enough motivation; on the first day of Bike to School Week 2016 more than half the student population road their bikes to school.
To support Bike to School Week participation, HUB provides a kit to participating schools, including trip-tracking tools, promotional materials and healthy snacks. Plus there are prizes for top schools, best story, and other fun categories. While friendly competition is encouraged, it is not just a numbers game.
"Every school that participates is a winner, in our view. We'd like to see 150 schools participating this year, not for our own purposes but because it will mean more schools and kids are getting the message, and getting the benefits of being fit and active," said Gray.