Posted by marilynch
Bike to School: In Monterey County and elsewhere
Volunteers make a difference!
Scroll down for bike news and scenes from elementary and high schools around the county.
(For tips for Monterey County college students, click here.)
Above photo courtesy of Susan Ragsdale-Cronin.
- First, are you concerned about safety? Refer to Bicycling Monterey’s “CA Bike Laws and Personal Safety–Tips for Kids and Adults,” and note the many specific tips for children and teens.
- Are you a teenager, or do you have a teen? Click here for examples of how Monterey County law enforcement is backing up children and teens in biking safely.
May 2013 updates on Monterey County elementary schools:
- May is celebrated as Bike Month nationwide. Among upcoming activities for Monterey County kids: Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) has contracted with Ecology Action of Santa Cruz to put on up to eight bike rodeos soon at Monterey County schools, e.g., Kammann School in Salinas. Contact Andy Cook, Bicycle/Pedestrian coordinator at TAMC with any questions.
- Volunteers (see examples at 5/17/13 event report below) can maximize the success of the Monterey County Health Department’s steps toward more Safe Routes to School. Contact Susan Kent, Traffic Safety and Injury Prevention Coordinator 831-755-8975 or Debra Dunn, Health Educator 831-755-4594 at MCHD to offer your help. Since March 2013, the Health Department has a 21-month Safe Routes to School grant to benefit some Monterey Peninsula elementary school students, as reported 12/21/12 by Claudia Meléndez Salinas in her School Bytes blog.
- Five elementary schools are the focus of this grant, to benefit four schools in Seaside–Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary, Ord Terrace Elementary, Highland Elementary, and Del Rey Oaks Elementary; and one in Marina, Marina Vista Elementary.
- In Seaside, a special bike safety event and ride for grades K-5 took place at Laguna Grande Park on 5/17/13, organized by Debra Dunn and Susan Kent of the Monterey County Health Department. Up to 50 children received new bike helmets as part of the festivities. Special thanks to community volunteers and others who made this event fun and successful for the children: Frank Henderson, League of American Bicyclists certified instructor, who helped with helmet fitting and more; Rob Cepeda, Service Manager, Sports Center Bicycles of Seaside, who did many complimentary repairs; Cath Tendler Valencia of Velo Club Monterey, and Vera Noghera of VCM, who helped out with registration, incentives, and the ride; Let’s Go Outdoors, a program of the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District; Community Partnership for Youth; Nutrition Network; and Seaside Police Cadets. (View fliers that announced this event:
5-17-13 Bike Seaside – English – 5-17-13 Bici Seaside – espanol)
- Susan Kent participated in a 2/27/13 community TV presentation as reported here.
- Among other tentative activities are Rock and Roll Days.
Photo at top: Monterey County mom Susan Ragsdale-Cronin bikes her daughters to school on a regular basis, from their Del Rey Oaks home to San Carlos School in downtown Monterey.
Monterey County’s 1st on-campus bike maintenance station
Did you know that Salinas High School has gone from empty bicycle racks to packed-full racks, with overflow bikes locked to fencing? In August 2012, SHS added a student bicycle maintenance station. That’s right! The bike maintenance/repair stand and tools are available to any student, courtesy of the SHS mountain biking team. See that MTB team–and bike buzz from other Monterey County elementary, middle, and high schools–below.
Wonder if the SHS bike maintenance station gets much use? You bet! After the school day ended on 8/29, eight or more students promptly gathered to work on their bikes. Click here and see for yourself!
Tip of the helmet to Salinas High School! To my knowledge, this cool do-it-yourself bicycle work station at SHS is the first bike maintenance station at any public or private elementary, middle, high school, or college in Monterey County. (Following SHS, Cal State-Monterey Bay/CSUMB will have two DIY fix-it stations installed.)
Salinas High students need not worry if they get to school and realize their brakes are in dire need of adjusting. No need to fit in an urgent stop at a bike shop before heading to an after-school job, sports practice, homework session, or other destination. Instead, students can stop by the SHS bike maintenance station and do it themselves. Need a little air in your tires? On the SHS campus, you know right where to go–Mr. Warwick’s classroom, location of this convenient new station. Questions? Contact Jim Warwick, 831-262-4152.
Maybe you’re an SHS student and thinking “Great, but I don’t know what to do with those tools.” Here’s one solution: During after-school hours in July and September 2013, there are basic bike maintenance classes in Monterey for children over age eight, as well as teens and adults; click here.
Be cool on campus
Notice all the buzz around the nation is “bike to school,” not “bike at school”? After you’ve arrived inside the SHS schoolyard, please walk your bike. This is the campus rule for some other Monterey County schools too, depending on the campus layout. Unsure? Check with the school administration, or contact me.
First, why bike to school
Even if your route to school isn’t ideal, consider a bike-and-ride or bike-and-walk option. Any mile of active transportation beats a mile of driving, and most children and teens find it’s more fun getting to school on two wheels, even partway.
Why bike? If you’re thinking, “Biking is great, but gotta focus on studies first and foremost,” consider that “Active Kids = Smarter Kids.” There’s also evidence that girls who bike had higher test scores.
“What’s lost when kids don’t bike to school?” David Darlington responded to that question on National Public Radio, May 2, 2012. Hear the 16-minute audio or read the transcript at NPR.org.
Schools providing bike-friendly resources are doing a lot to build students’ health–including preventing obesity and diabetes (as North Monterey County and South Santa Cruz County teen advocates for physical activity know), and much more.
When Dr. Hugh Stallworth retired from the Monterey County Health Department in June 2012, after a 42-year career in the field, he told the Monterey County Weekly’s Sara Rubin that the most challenging public health issue here is one shared by the nation: childhood obesity. He warned that changing this is going “to have to be an entire community effort. If we don’t solve that one, the prediction is this is the first generation where parents might outlive their kids. That’s one of my greatest concerns.” Biking can help!
For more benefits of bicycling, see “Why bike.”
Concerned about safety? Good!
Kids biking to school in Monterey County
Besides Salinas High School, what other support is there for students biking to school in Monterey County?
Monterey Park Elementary, Salinas
When Principal Ron Dillender came to Monterey Park School, a Salinas City Elementary School, he had been an avid supporter of kids biking for many years. He knew he wanted to help his South Salinas students bike too!
Some Monterey Park School students and their parents were among those in the Monterey County bike community who came to the 2013 Intergenerational Ride celebrating Bike Week. Thanks to those cyclists–who were wearing their bright green “Monterey Park Cycling” t-shirts, Bicycling Monterey learned about their school’s bike club! Click here so you can learn more about Monterey Park Cycling too.
Pacific Grove Middle School
Pacific Grove Middle School teacher Dessa Murphy is happy that many PG middle schoolers are biking to school. This physical education teacher knows the many benefits of biking, and she’s an avid cyclist herself!
Many schools around the country have a “bike cage” that is locked by personnel at beginning and end of the day. Although PG Middle’s handbook encourages personal bike locks inside the cage anyway, schools nationwide recognize that making a locked “bike cage” available has the advantage of accommodating kids whose families cannot afford bicycle locks.
Santa Rita Elementary, Salinas
Santa Rita Elementary School was the first school in Salinas to provide a “bike cage” so kids biking to school would have that easy bike security option. Tip of the helmet to Santa Rita for leading the way in Salinas!
La Paz Middle School, Salinas
You can see another “bike cage” at La Paz Middle School in Salinas. Even on a winter morning (the photo below was taken on January 10, 2012), La Paz had students who biked to school and made use of the school’s helpful bike security measure.
Want to enjoy the views of those beautiful Gabilan mountains, as the children biking to school do (below)? See tips for bicycling in Salinas. Want to help get more youth on bikes? See “Salinas youth and others for bikes: Bikes make life better!”
Bardin Elementary also encourages biking to school by likewise providing the bike-security measure of a bike cage. Stress about your bike while you’re trying to study? Not at Bardin!
Dr. Oscar F. Lloya Elementary, Salinas
At Oscar Lloya Elementary School, planners also knew that being free of worries about your bike’s security at school means more kids will bike. And they know biking benefits students in so many ways!
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy, Salinas
Even though few kids bike to school at this time–many instead walk to school–that doesn’t meant their principal and other staff aren’t thinking about how to support the MLK kids in biking! One goal: Secure funds to purchase helmets that can be given to students, along with bike safety instruction. The MLK staff knows that biking is great for kids’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being. They’d love to make it possible for more students to bike in their neighborhoods–with helmets, as required by CA law for minors.
Meanwhile, MLK shows it places a high priority on biking as a transportation option by the location of their bike rack: conveniently placed near the entrance to school.
Salinas High School Cowboys Racing Mountain Bike Team
Salinas High Cowboys Racing team photo courtesy of Jeff Lindenthal
Read about the Salinas High Cowboys Racing Mountain Bike Team on this site.
Don’t have a bike and want to be on the SHS team? Or, have a bike to donate to an SHS student who’d like to be on the team? Click here.
Monterey Composite High School Mountain Bike Team
Monterey Composite team photo courtesy of Mark Kintz
Homeschool, unschool, public school, private school, or independent study: If you are a high-school-age student from anywhere in Monterey County, you are welcome to be on the Monterey Composite team. No tryouts, and all ability levels welcome.
Read about Monterey Composite High School Mountain Bike Team on this site.
Palma School, an all-boys Catholic college prep high school in the Salinas Valley, has started a mountain bike team as of January 2013. Initial contacts are Mr. George Garibay (422-6391) or Mr. John Pattullo (970-6537). Click here.
Rancho Cielo Youth Campus
Rancho Cielo youth have the opportunity to fulfill their physical education credits by joining Luciano Rodriguez, a teacher’s aide at RC, in racing at the annual Sea Otter Classic. (Luciano is a pro SOC racer and has raced there for 11 consecutive years as of April 2013.) The first Rancho Cielo student followed Luciano’s lead by racing SOC in April 2012, and in April 2013, there were five RC students racing in this world-renowned event.
Sea Otter, which is not only renowned worldwide for bike racing but is also a bicycle festival and features North America’s largest bike expo.can also gain inspiration about biking by taking a field trip to
Stevenson School (formerly Robert Louis Stevenson School/RLS) points out to their high school students that biking is a great way to experience the natural beauty of the Monterey Peninsula. Stevenson highlights local biking resources in their website’s Student Life section for the Pebble Beach campus (grades 9-12), under suggested Weekend Activities. Clearly Stevenson School leaders recognize how biking benefits youth, and they want their students to experience the many benefits of bicycling.
Robert H. Down Elementary School, Pacific Grove
This Pacific Grove public school usually has an annual bicycle rodeo, thanks to parent/teacher volunteers from the Robert Down PTA. For 2012, it is scheduled for Sat, 8/25, from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
The Robert Down bike rodeo is supported by other volunteers too, including Hector Chavez, owner of Winning Wheels Bicycle Shop (831-375-4322), 318 Grand Avenue, Pacific Grove. Basic bicycle safety checks are part of the mix. If you have bike maintenance skills, call Hector and volunteer to help keep kids’ bikes in safe running condition.
Click here to read an Aug 2012 report on Safe Routes to School in our South County cities of King City and Soledad.
Jack Franscioni Elementary School, Soledad
Safe Routes to School 4/26/12 presentation at Jack Franscioni
Ride America for Safe Routes visitors were in Monterey County in April 2012. They made a presentation at Jack Franscioni Elementary School in Soledad, then did the bike-and-ride to Monterey, where they camped at Veterans Park. Click here for photos from their visit on this site.
Other Safe Routes to School activity in Monterey County
See “Safe Routes to School” contacts for Monterey County in Section 19 of the Bicycle Shops, Services, Clubs, and Resources page. Be aware that these leaders are working hard to accomplish a variety of job responsibilities during times of austere budgets. Ask what you can do to help!
As reported by Claudia Meléndez Salinas in the Monterey County Herald’s School Bytes blog on 12/21/12, Ord Terrace Elementary, Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary, Highland Elementary, Del Rey Oaks Elementary, and Marina Vista Elementary will benefit from a 21-month Safe Routes to School grant, beginning March 1, 2013. The goal of the grant is getting more kids to bike or walk to school.
Monterey County Youth Center, Salinas
Some teen boys, from all over Monterey County, are in the care of the Monterey County Probation Department Youth Center, Salinas. Their primary instruction is provided by the Monterey County Office of Education. In addition, they have a variety of enrichment classes.
Among these classes is a popular bicycle repair and safety class, offered to a small number of students at this time. Click here to learn more about this class, and how you can support its growth!
Youth Center bike safety and repair instructors Frank Henderson and Korey Ericson
Highlight other bike-friendly Monterey County schools
Add a comment to this post about other Monterey County schools with bike activities or events, good bike parking, or other support for student bicyclists–or a need for it. Share a photo of bicycles, bike racks, or students or staff biking at local schools. (Contact me and arrange to email a photo.)
League of American Bicyclists local instructor Frank Henderson is available to come to Monterey County and Monterey Bay region schools and events.
For related info on this site, see:
- Bicycle culture and youth
- Bicycling Carmel–Children growing up streetwise
- Safe Routes to School–and elsewhere: Complete Streets Act
- Safe Routes to School resources in Spanish
- Bike maps and related help
- California bike laws and personal safety–with tips for kids
- Teaching Children Well: Bike safety and bike tech education
- Salinas youth and others for bikes: Bikes make life better
- Children Celebrate Cycling at the Sea Otter Classic
- Back to the books–and bikes (tips mostly geared to older students in Monterey County)
- NPS provides inspiration for bike parking –and biking
- Bike Parking, Security, and Storage
- Bicycle security
- North Monterey County teens are among a group of teens working to build healthier lifestyles for youth who attended the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail network meeting in Watsonville; read the post and learn why.
- For more examples of effort being made to help more Monterey County children bike safely, see Seaside’s PAL Bike Fair and South County Health & Safety Fair.
- “Race to Nowhere“
- “Singletrack High“
Children and Teens section of this site (access it above the banner anytime). Besides biking info, you’ll also find a few other youth-related resources such as Barbara Coloroso’s visit to Monterey County–Kids Are Worth it! Includes teen and Spanish/English free materials on the Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander.
Elsewhere in the Monterey Bay region
- San Benito County is a Monterey Bay region leader in providing Safe Routes to School info for all schools, and in both English and Spanish; check out their maps!
- Santa Cruz County nonprofits, including Ecology Action, provide Safe Routes to School support, including Bike to School Day
- Be inspired too by the Green Ways to School program of our Santa Cruz neighbors.
Additional Safe Routes to School support
Having participated in two recent Safe Routes to School webinars (Webinars 3 and 6 below), I know these resources are typically full of helpful info. Please refer to the bottom of this post for links.
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The information below is excerpted
from Safe Routes to School’s Dec 2011 E-News:
Resources from Six-Part SRAM Bicycling Webinar Series Available Online
Access them at www.saferoutespartnership.org/SRAM-Bicycling-Webinars
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership hosted a six-part webinar series in 2011 that focused on bicycling and Safe Routes to School. A special thanks to the SRAM Cycling Fund for making this series possible. Hundreds of people attended each of the webinars.
A complete list of the webinars is below. Click the links below to watch a recording of the webinar and download the webinar’s tip sheet, PowerPoint slides and Q&A sheet.
- Webinar 1: Getting Bike Shops and Advocates to Collaborate on Safe Routes to School
- Webinar 2: Organizing Successful Bike Trains
- Webinar 3: Bicycle Parking, Storage, and Security at Schools
- Webinar 4: Funding, Organizing and Maintaining Bicycle Fleets
- Webinar 5: Nonprofit Advocacy Organizations and Safe Routes to School
- Webinar 6: Strategies for Increasing Bicycling in Low-Income Communities
Bike train for Monterey County? Hold that thought!
There is a desire to get funding to have a bike train to help kids biking to school in Salinas. Check in with county and city bike/pedestrian committees to see if perhaps you can help with grant research, grant writing, and the like.
A note to philanthropists
Here’s an idea for a $15,000 gift that could be made to a local school or perhaps to the Monterey County Health Department’s SRTS program. It would not only be a healthy way for 11 children and their adult “driver” to get to school, it would also be an eye-catcher that can help bring attention to local Safe Routes to School and other efforts to get more kids enjoying active, environmentally sound transportation. See Dutch kids pedal their own bus to school.
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Archived Spring 2012 notes re Bike to School Day
Since its inception in 1995, Bike to School Day has been observed in the Monterey Bay region.
The U.S. Department of Transportation proclaimed May 9, 2012 the First National Bike to School Day! Congratulations to @Bike2School in Bloomington, IL and other leaders in this grassroots movement. It’s terrific to work in partnership with others around the nation to support more kids biking to school!
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Previously published 12/3/11.