IDAHO FALLS — A local elementary school principal put on his helmet, hopped on his bike and joined students on a ride in an effort to encourage them to be active — and for a chance to win a new bike.
Wade Leavitt, the principal at Edgemont Elementary School, joined in on some fun Wednesday morning with students. He rode his bike with them from Community Park to Edgemont Elementary School while two Idaho Falls Police officers escorted them.
“We had great participation! I didn’t know if we would get three kids or 300 kids. We had quite a few. I think there were at least over 60 kids riding bikes today to school,” Leavitt told EastIdahoNews.com.
Leavitt said it’s all part of a challenge that’s going on in the month of September called “Just Ride Idaho.” The challenge began on Sept. 12 and ends on Sept. 30.
“There’s a bunch of companies trying to get kids to be active and riding their bikes to school,” he said.
Four different community groups are sponsoring it, including Idaho Mountain Trading, Teton Toyota, Idaho Falls Community Hospital and Bonneville Metropolitan Planning Organization (BMPO).
Leavitt said students have to ride their bikes to and from school 12 out of 15 days in September. If it’s unsafe for students to ride to and from school, they can ride their bikes in their neighborhood. Students who participate get a free T-shirt.
Students then fill out a punch card showing that they’ve completed the challenge and then their names are put into a drawing for a new bike.
The new bike at Edgemont Elementary School is a mountain bike that was donated by Idaho Mountain Trading.
Leavitt said the students loved the bike ride to school on Wednesday, and they want to make it happen yearly.
“They were super excited. They said, ‘We should do this every day!’ A lot of them said they thought they were in a parade. It was super fun,” said Leavitt.
Other schools around Idaho Falls School District 91 are also participating. Every participating school has a bike to give away.
Leavitt said the bike at Edgemont Elementary School would be given away on Friday to one lucky student.