Stephanie Leonard

Pedals and pancakes

Buena Vista sure knows how to celebrate Bike to School Day!

This past Wednesday, while the sun was rising and there was a chill in the air, groups of students and community members gathered across town on bikes.

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Bicycle Colorado’s education team joined one of Avery Parsons Elementary’s three bike trains (groups of kids and adults who ride to school together) and headed to school with the students. The bike trains converged on Main Street, where the Optimist Club provided free pancakes to riders, and then the Buena Vista Police Department escorted the group of pedalers safely to school grounds.

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The fun continues

Every day throughout Buena Vista’s Walkin’ & Wheelin’ to School Week, students who biked or walked were entered into a drawing for a new bike. Participant numbers ranged from 75 to 150 students daily, which is significantly higher than past years!

While Bike to School Day and Walkin’ & Wheelin’ to School Week were a lot of fun, the week isn’t the beginning or end of the excitement about bikes in Buena Vista. Earlier this year, our education team taught students at the school about biking and walking safety, and throughout the year we have worked with a dedicated team of Buena Vista residents to plan for Walkin’ & Wheelin’ Week and the opening of a bike library.

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The start of something new

IMG_3574 (1) In 2015, the Town of Buena Vista’s Safe Routes to School grant application was selected as the top scoring non-infrastructure application. The cornerstone of the project is the establishment of a community bicycle library.

Last fall the town worked with Bicycle Colorado and Boneshaker Cycles to purchase 17 bicycles for the library. Walkin’ & Wheelin’ Week was a preview of what these bikes will be used for. Besides bike safety education and events, starting this summer the bikes will be available for checkout to local families, allowing children who don’t own a bicycle to ride all summer long.

The torch bearers

IMG_8324 (1)The success of Walkin’ & Wheelin’ Week and the launch of the bicycle library circles back to a small but visionary group of Safe Routes champions. This coalition is comprised of teachers, parents, local bike shop employees and Parks & Recreation staff who hope to see all students experience the joy of biking.

The coalition is optimistic about the bicycle library’s positive impact on the town. They predict that the increased presence of bikes in the community will encourage families to ride more, drive less and take advantage of nearby trails together.  

To echo the words of an Avery Parsons Safe Routes champion, “I can see the future of this town, and I like what I see.”

A bike library in your community?

If a bike library sounds like something that would improve your community, let’s talk! Contact me at stephanie@bicyclecolorado.org or 303-417-1544 x11.

Stephanie Leonard

About the Author: Stephanie Leonard

Stephanie oversees the expanding education department, which includes Safe Routes to School, Bike School and multi-modal transportation programs. As a Surly bike commuter, she enjoys seeing Coloradans get excited about bicycling for transportation. Steph can be found hiking, skiing or climbing across the state every chance that she gets.

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