People for BikesPeople for Bikes

July 3, 2023

55 New Schools Commit to Youth Cycling

By: Nick Aguilera, youth and community partnerships manager

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Outride recently announced 55 new Riding For Focus programs, continuing efforts to empower youth and communities through bicycling and counteract a nationwide decline in youth ridership.

PeopleForBikes’ 2022 U.S. Bicycling Participation Report found that of the 66% of U.S. adults who did not ride a bicycle in the past year, 14% had never ridden a bike at all. In terms of youth participation, “Last year, we measured a gradual but repeated drop in ridership among youth ages 3-17,” says Patrick Hogan, senior research manager at PeopleForBikes, noting that his team is still working to understand why we are seeing this trend. “While about 49% of youth ages 3-17 rode a bicycle at least once in 2022, ridership among younger Americans has continued to drop since 2016.”

Riding For Focus (R4F), Outride’s middle-school-based bicycle education program, is pushing back against that trend, providing schools with everything they need to get students riding, including bikes, helmets, teacher training, and a comprehensive bike education curriculum.  While Outride’s research shows that an average of 10-20% of middle school students did not know how to ride a bike before participating in R4F, most students feel comfortable riding after participating with 91% of students showing interest in continuing to ride after the program.

Outride recently announced 55 new R4F grant recipients, expanding the program to nearly 300 schools across North America. R4F is grounded in research highlighting the positive benefits of bicycling for the social, emotional, and cognitive health of youth. Beyond giving students the confidence to ride comfortably and safely, Outride’s applied research demonstrates how bicycling enhances student motivation, focus, and overall well-being. 

At a time when youth face high rates of anxiety, depression, and other challenges, Outride has an unwavering commitment to empowering young people through the power of the bike. “Youth need an outlet for freedom and joy,” says Riding for Focus Program Manager Lauren Freeman. “There's no better way to address some of the challenges they face than by riding bikes.” 

Heart rate tracking shows students achieving close to half of their recommended daily physical activity levels during a Riding for Focus class. Participating students also report decreased screen time, higher levels of well-being, and an increased desire to continue riding bikes outside of school, especially with friends. 

Outride remains dedicated to serving communities where the need is greatest. R4F grants are prioritized to schools in communities that serve students with high rates of free or reduced-price lunch. By focusing on these areas, Outride aims to address systemic inequalities and ensure equitable access to the benefits of bicycling. 

See the full list of Outride’s new Riding For Focus grantees below:

Academy of Visual and Performing Arts — Fort Worth, TX 
Adams-Young Middle School — Detroit, MI 
Akwesasne Freedom School — Akwesasne, NY 
Allegro Charter School of Music — North Charleston, SC 
Anansi Charter School — El Prado, NM 
Appling Middle School — Macon, GA 
Baldwin High School — Milledgeville, GA 
Baptist Hill Middle-High School — Hollywood, SC
Beckley-Stratton Middle School — Beckley, WV
Beyond the Bell — Sioux City, IA
Bridging The Gap Advocacy Community Center — Laurens, SC
Cali Calmecac Language Academy — Windsor, CA
Calistoga Junior/Senior High School — Calistoga, CA
Colorado City Unified School District — Colorado City, AZ
Commodore Perry School District — Hadley, PA
Concord School — Concord, VT
Connaught Public School — Collingwood, ON, Canada
Curtis Middle School San — Bernardino, CA
Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School — Deer Isle, ME
Fox Creek Junior High — Bullhead City, AZ
George Street Middle School — Fredericton, NB, Canada
Georgia Hi-Lo Trail — Sandersville, GA
Ignacio School District — Ignacio, CO
Irving Middle School — Pocatello, ID
James Hart School — Homewood, IL
Jeehdeez'a Elementary — School Pinon, AZ 
Jefferson-Douglass Academy — Detroit, MI
Knightsbridge Middle School — New York, NY 
Lukachukai Community School — Lukachukai, AZ
M209 Hamilton Grange Middle School — New York, NY
Mesa View Middle School — Farmington, NM
Mother Teresa Middle Schoo —l Regina, SK, Canada
North Sanpete Middle School — Moroni, UT
Pittsburgh Sterrett Classical Academy 6-8 — Pittsburgh, PA
Polson Middle School — Polson, MT
PS/IS 187 Hudson Cliffs School — New York, NY
Rundlett Middle School — Concord, NH
School District of Ashland — Ashland, WI
Searsport District Middle High School — Searsport, ME
Shihiya School Enderby, BC, Canada Silver Stallion — Gallup, NM
Simle Middle School — Bismarck, ND
South Bend Bike Garage — South Bend, IN
South Miami K-8 Center — South Miami, FL
Sumiton Middle School — Sumiton, AL
Summit Elementary — Kamloops, BC, Canada
Superior Heights Collegiate & Vocational School — Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada 
TeWinkle Middle School — Costa Mesa, CA
Uintah Middle School — Vernal, UT
Warm Springs Middle School — Berkeley Springs, WV
Washington-Parks Academy — Detroit, MI
West Burlington Independent School District — West Burlington, IA
White Oak Middle School — Silver Spring, MD
Whitewater Middle School — Charlotte, NC
Xet ̓ ólacw Community School — Mount Currie, BC, Canada

In addition to its research projects and Riding For Focus program, Outride provides grants to a broad range of youth cycling initiatives through the Outride Fund. Outride recently announced grants to 39 cycling organizations across the U.S., bringing their investment to nearly $2 million dollars in support of 212 community cycling projects in over 40 states.

Related Topics:

Youth BicyclingInclusive BikingBicycling Benefits
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