Camrynn Carruthers accepts the award for the Bike to School challenge. Kootenay Orchards Elementary School had the highest percentage of students bike to and from school. Photo courtesy of Kelley Relkoff, Student Service Teacher at Kootenay Orchards.

Kootenay Orchards wins Bike to School Challenge

The final results from Bike to School Challenge, which took place from May 27 to 30, are in and Kootenay Orchards has finished first with 36.09 per cent participation. Highlands School came second, T.M. Roberts third, Kootenay Christian Academy fourth and Amy Woodlands fifth.

Kootenay Orchard had 36 per cent — an average over the four days of how many children road bikes to school, averaged out of the school population. One day they had 98 kids out of 221 ride to school.

“It was amazing, really well received, certainly for the first year running the program. We were super excited with the first year response and can’t wait till next year,” said Melanie McFarlane of We-Bike, the organization behind the event.

McFarlane was also present at schools throughout the week of the event, high-fiving kids as they got to the bikeracks.

“They were pretty proud to be showing up at school with their bikes, and you’d hear the conversations about wanting to beat the other schools, so the competitive spirit certainly came out with the kids.”

Kootenay Orchards students were treated to a surprise announcement that they had won, with a parade of RCMP vehicles as well as the We-Bike organizers and their trailer, to present the students with a custom made Bike to School Challenge trophy, in addition to Dairy Queen treats and a pizza party to be had by the top class later.

Highland School said that they are going to be even more fired up next year to try and knock Kootenay Orchard off the top, a sentiment shared by the other participating schools who all hope to see even more students cycling to school next year.

“Talking to the schools today they definitely want to see this happen again, they’re geared up to increase the ridership and also too, they realize that this isn’t just a one week thing. They want their children to ride to school all the time.”

“Our goal from the Sunrise Rotary and the We-Bike program is to see kids riding bikes, and get them outside enjoying our community. It’s so beautiful here, and there’s a lot of opportunities to ride bikes with the BMX park and the trails, there’s so many opportunities for them to be outside and be healthy and riding bicycles.”

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