May 8, 2019 was designated as the 8th annual National Bike to School Day in the U.S., but Indiana Area School District has been celebrating “Bike to School Days” longer than that. Indiana Area’s elementary students participated in the district’s 20th annual “Bike to School Challenge,” which was originally established in conjunction with May also being National Bike Month.
The event promotes bicycle safety, the many health and fitness benefits of bicycling, and environmental advantages of bicycling instead of driving to local destinations. Of course, it also promotes a friendly competition between the district’s two 4th & 5th grade elementary schools. Whichever school has the most participants gets to keep the traveling trophy. This year’s winner was Horace Mann Elementary School.
Students met in the parking lot of IUP’s Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex (KCAC) for registration and a breakfast rally courtesy of Indiana Regional Medical Center (IRMC). Bob Reininger from Indiana Schwinn Cycling and Fitness Center was on hand for last minute tune-ups and tire pump-ups. The students departed for their respective schools accompanied by the Indiana County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana Borough Police, IUP Campus Police, Indiana Area School District staff, and parents. The ride was also supported by Citizens’ Ambulance Service.
Each year the event is held “rain or shine.” Riders this year were especially grateful for the latter and are already “gearing up” for next year’s challenge!