City partnering with local bike shop to award new bikes to students

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IDAHO FALLS – A local bike shop is partnering with the city of Idaho Falls to give away 10 bikes to elementary students this Friday.

Students at A.H. Bush Elementary were issued a challenge to write an essay about why they need a bike and how they would use it. Hundreds of essays were submitted. School administrators sifted through them and narrowed the list down to just 20.

The giveaway is a joint effort between Idaho Mountain Trading and the Bonneville Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Davin Napier, manager and co-owner of Idaho Mountain Trading, tells EastIdahoNews.com he was tasked with selecting the top 10 and will be awarding bikes to the winners during a school assembly Friday.

“One of the reasons we chose Bush Elementary is because they’ve always had good participation with cycling to school and we just wanted to give back to the community,” Napier says.

The giveaway was inspired, in part, by a bike challenge given to students in Idaho Falls School District 91 every year by BMPO. The challenge involves riding a bike to and from school — or in a student’s neighborhood — at least 12 days in a 15 day period. Students who complete the challenge get a T-shirt and are entered into a drawing for a new bike.

“It’s just grown in almost every school in District 91 that has participated,” says BMPO Transportation Planner DaNiel Jose, who started issuing the challenge to students in 2013.

She coordinates a grant provided to schools through a federal transportation bill called Safe Routes to School. The state gives that money to the district every year to help promote biking and walking to school. Jose started the bike challenge to incentivize students to do that.

Last year, she noticed a huge difference in the quality of bikes at Bush Elementary versus other schools in the district.

“I wanted to get good bikes to students that really needed them and weren’t able to get them on their own,” Jose says.

She started talking to people and soon had a team of people on board for the bike giveaway.

“Some of my fondest memories as a kid are biking over to a friend’s house or biking home from school. We want to make sure these kids have the same opportunity,” says Napier.

The city is providing five bikes for the giveaway and Idaho Mountain Trading is matching that donation with another five bikes. Joshua Newell, the principal at Bush Elementary, says a total of 150 students participated in the essay contest, which is about half the school. Each of the top 10 essay winners will be presented with a brand-new Trek mountain bike valued at $400 at 2:30 p.m. Friday.

Napier says the city does a good job providing infrastructure for people to go for a bike ride, and hopes the giveaway inspires others to get out and use the trails.

“If we can start with children, then they want to go bike riding and hopefully that inspires mom and dad to go bike riding with them, and it just builds from there,” Napier says.

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