Most of the cyclists that are profiled in our portrait collection are, well, let’s just say that they’ve been able to vote in more than a few elections. So to try to even the score we feature this group of forty-plus elementary school students.
In April 2006, a group of students from Paxson Elementary School took time out from their book studies to take a short bike tour around our hometown of Missoula. The group stopped by the Adventure Cycling office towards the end of their ride for a brief visit.
Seeing a group like this reminds us of the efforts being made by the cycling community to get more children on bicycles. There are many obstacles out there to discourage this, from lack of basic infrastructure to the new Sony PlayStation. But there are groups trying to change that. The Safe Routes to School National Partnership (www.americabikes.org) is a newly formed network of organizations working to make it safe, convenient, and fun for children to walk and bike to school. At Adventure Cycling, we have created Pedal Pioneers: A Guide to Bicycle Travel with Kids. This publication is in response to numerous requests for information from teachers and youth leaders to help them and other bicyclists organize their own youth tours.
The stories and statistics of childhood inactivity can get lost, though, when you are around a group like these Paxson School students. They seemed to generate their own energy as they made their way through the office, giving the impression that when kids are able to get out of class to go for a bike ride, they get pretty excited. Couple that with the fact that they were headed to the local ice cream stand, it makes them downright giddy. Perhaps this should be a strategy for getting more kids on bikes.