By Carla O’Day
“Bike to Work, School, and Fun Week” is underway, along with contests, competitions, and activities at schools that draw attention to the health benefits of riding bicycles.
During National Bike Month, school police teach messages about bicycle and traffic safety, which includes wearing helmets. Also, there’s a “ride for reading” event that promotes early literacy and a “rack ‘em up” contest for students competing for the best decorated bike rack in Washoe County.
Bike Month began in 1956 through the League of American Bicyclists. Its goal is to showcase benefits of biking and to encourage more people to take up the activity.
Several school officials and local dignitaries took part in an 8-mile bike ride Thursday that began at the Washoe County administrative complex at North Wells Avenue and East Ninth Street. The group rode to Sparks Marina Park to collect books for students and ended their trip at Lloyd Diedrichsen Elementary School.
“For me it was hard because I’m not a bicyclist,” said Courtney Sego, Diedrichesen dean of students. “It was a lot of fun but I’m very sore. The kids got a kick out of it when I came around the corner on my bike.”
Books were distributed to students, Sego said.
“The kids were excited,” she said. “There was a table with books spread out and they got to pick one to take home.”
School police officer M.J. Cloud, who represents Safe Routes to School, is scheduled to hold a “Tour de Safety” event Friday at Cold Springs Middle School.
“We encourage our students and staff members to engage in healthy physical activities every day,” Cloud said in a statement. “One great way to get exercise and spend time outdoors in the fresh air is to ride bikes back and forth to school or work.”
Sego said at Diedrichsen most students bike, walk, skate, or take scooters to school because there is no bus service, with the exception of special education pupils who qualify.
In addition to physical education classes, the school holds “power hour” each Wednesday. Students take part in sports, presidential fitness challenges, and even yoga.
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Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.