Happy National Bike Month, everyone! On May 3rd we celebrated National Bike to School Day, which offers a great opportunity for schools across the country to celebrate the joys and benefits of biking to school.
Here in Newport, students and parents from Claiborne Pell Elementary School gathered at The Big Blue Bike Barn to make the ride to school, with dozens in attendance, as well as Mayor Xay Khamsyvoravong and an escort by Officers St. Lawrance and Hutson of the Newport Police Department. When the children arrived on their bikes at school, they were greeted by Bike Newport volunteers and Officer Merrie Scott. Their cheers as the kids rode up to the school brought great joy and ear-to-ear smiles! The bicyclists received snacks, stickers, and a certificate commemorating their participation in Bike to School Day.
Before the group ride to school, the kids were happy to hit the Pump Track at the Big Blue Bike Barn campus. Eight-year-old Noel Cookdoulet was excited to ride his bike to school, saying: “I get to be with a group of my friends!”
At the end of the ride, Noel and his biking buddies hung out together before the first school bell. That short bike ride across the neighborhood brought these friends closer and gave them something to talk about and share during the school day, inspiring more friends to join the fun next year.
“Things like bicycling really open up kids’ eyes to the ability to get out and explore their communities, and that’s a really important part of building stronger communities.” said Mayor Khamsyvoravong, highlighting some of the bonds these children made during the ride. Like many of Bike Newport’s supporters, Mayor Khamsyvoravong sees the importance of cycling and what it’s going to take to make Newport the exemplary city for cycling that it can be. “We need to start thinking of safe routes to school in a more complete way. We need to be making the investments in our infrastructure to make sure that is a reality, not someday but today.”