Nearly fifty riders pedaled their way to Saturday’s event to be the largest group of organized riders attending the Earth Day Festival.
SB Bicycle Coalition’s Christine Bourgeois says the contest idea came from the notion that there are many cycling groups here in Santa Barbara, and “it’s more fun to ride with family and friends.” Bourgeois adds, “This contest was a way to show the social aspect of biking and encourage groups to get together.”
It is a fitting win for Santa Barbara Middle School, as they are well known for their accredited outdoor education program where they have traveled over 2.5 million miles on their bikes since the school’s beginning in 1976.
Each year SBMS spends about 20 nights out in the wilderness teaching their students to be environmentally aware. On most of their outdoor expeditions, you will find students and teachers on their bikes. The bicycle is a tool and a metaphor that the school uses to teach resilience and self-confidence.
A key aspect behind the safety and success of SBMS’s biking journeys is the help and expertise they get from their student Bike Monkey team; a group of student leaders trained in bike mechanics.
Jake Garner is a ninth grade student and is one of SBMS’s Bike Monkey captains this year. He says, “On our school-wide bike trips, the Bike Monkeys are the first ones up in the morning, and the last ones to go to bed each night as we are prepping and fixing bikes so that all the kids can have a fun, safe and successful ride the next day.”
Garner adds, “We are also the students who will ride alongside new riders, offer up our own bike if we need to, and work hard to motivate others to have a great ride.”
Jesse Kasenhagen, SBMS science teacher and Bike Monkey faculty advisor, enjoys providing a service that supports our greater Santa Barbara community. “Our Bike Monkeys enjoy working side by side with Bici Centro and Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition to be of service to the public.” Kasenhagen adds, “The Bike Monkeys have a great opportunity to be of service to the bicycle community. They teach others how to conduct regular maintenance checks and do some repairs on their own bike, so that riders feel safe and are ready to ride.”
This is the third year that the SBMS Bike Monkeys have assisted the Bike World program at Community Environmental Council’s (CEC) Earth Day Festival.