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C.D. Howe students fill a bike rack and more

Nearly four dozen youngster took part in the event, which is gearing up to be an annual event and could spread to other schools soon.

THUNDER BAY – Students at C.D. Howe Public School put the petal the metal on Thursday, biking to school in an effort to show their environmentally friendly side.

About 40 youngsters took part in the school’s first annual Fill-A-Bike-Rack-Day event, which included a ride to McVicar’s Creek and a bicycle tune-up by Community Spokes.

Seven-year-old Ailie Simone said she had a blast.

“It was really fun and I thought it was really beautiful,” the youngster said. “I liked the feeling of being outside and being in nature.”

She added she didn’t hesitate to sign up when the opportunity presented itself, an idea sparked by a parent and made possible by both the school and EcoSuperior.

“I really wanted to do it right away. I love biking. That’s all I do at home,” Ailie said. “I like biking with my friends to school and it feels really nice and happy.”

Rachael Mann, a Grade 8 student at C.D. Howe, said it’s important for kids to get exercise, but also to have a day of fun at school making memories with their friends.

But it was also educational, especially for the youngest students at the north-side school.

“We learned how to turn, what hand signals you do when you turn, and we learned that we walk out bikes across the street, and which side of the road to stay on,” the 13-year-old said.

“It’s important to know so you can have fun while still being safe while you ride to school or work.”

Trevor Bouchard said it was the first time he rode his bike at school and he’s hoping to get the chance to do it again.

“It was great to get exercise and see the neighbourhood too,” he said. “It was really, really fun.”

Kelsey Agnew, the active transportation co-ordinator at EcoSuperior, said the event was to celebrate C.D. Howe’s brand-new bike rack, while promoting active school travel.

“We planned a day called Build-A-Bike-Rack, which was very successful. It was overflowing with bikes and over 40 students signed up to go on the bike ride,” Agnew said. “We went on a three-kilometre bike ride to McVicar Creek and now we have bike mechanics from Community Spokes who are going to be here for the next few hours giving free tune-ups to all the kids’ bikes.”

Agnew said active school travel also gets students’ minds going before they get to the classroom.

“They’re just more ready to learn. It’s good for their physical health. It’s good for their mental health. It also helps the school to avoid congestion and it keeps the air quality better when there aren’t a bunch of parents idling their vehicles,” Agnew said.

The goal is to hold the event again each year, with the possibility of spreading it to other Thunder Bay-area schools.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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