Tuesday, November 24 , 2015, 6:56 pm | Partly Cloudy 61º

Thousands of Local Students Roll with COAST for National Bike to School Day

La Colina Junior High seventh-grader Lucas Eilbacher gets a high-five as he accepts the bike he won through COAST’s National Bike to School Day.
La Colina Junior High seventh-grader Lucas Eilbacher gets a high-five as he accepts the bike he won through COAST’s National Bike to School Day.  (COAST photo)

By Barry Remis for COAST |

Based on school champion reports, 4,258 students used alternative, sustainable transportation to get to school on National Bike to School Day. With several schools not reporting specific counts, we estimate the number was more than 5,000!

Twenty-eight schools participated this year, including Adams, Adelante, Franklin, Harding, McKinley, Monroe, Peabody, Santa Barbara Community Academy, Washington, Goleta Valley Junior High, La Colina Junior High, La Cumbre Junior High and Dos Pueblos High (all from the Santa Barbara Unified School District); Hope, Monte Vista and Vieja Valley (all from the Hope School District); Brandon, Ellwood, Foothill, Hollister, Isla Vista, Kellogg, La Patera and Mountain View (all from the Goleta Union School District); Cold Spring (from the Cold Spring Union School District); Montecito Union (from the Montecito Union School District); and Aliso and Carpinteria Family School (from the Carpinteria Unified School District).

This year, the event got a boost from Yardi Systems, which donated four bikes raffled off to four schools that had over 50 percent student participation. Nine schools topped 50 percent: Aliso (54 percent), Ellwood (55 percent), Harding (56 percent), Hope (59 percent), Kellogg (60 percent), La Colina Junior High (59 percent), La Patera (65 percent), Monte Vista (55 percent) and Mountain View (57 percent).

Of those nine schools, the four schools that won the bike raffle (randomly drawn at COAST’s May general meeting) were Ellwood, La Colina Junior High, Monte Vista and Mountain View! Each winning school then selected one lucky student to win the bike and a new safety helmet from COAST.

Ellwood bike
Ellwood School second-grader Mathilde Morales with her new bike she earned as part of National Bike to School Day. (COAST photo)

Here are the winning students’ names: Ellwood School second-grader Mathilde Morales, La Colina Junior High seventh-grader Lucas Eilbacher, Monte Vista second-grader Brian Ochoa and Mountain View first-grader Noah Runyen. Some other schools that worked really hard to exceed 50 percent but didn't quite make it deserve an honorable mention: Brandon (45 percent), Foothill (42 percent), Hollister (45 percent) and Monroe (47 percent). Keep up the great work, everybody!

COAST gives huge thanks to Yardi Systems for donating the four bikes! Those bikes and helmets were great enthusiasm-builders for the event. We had a lot of school champions asking, “Who won!?” The champions were more engaged and motivated this year than ever — nothing like some outstanding prizes to gain some attention!

COAST and a Measure A CycleMAYnia mini-grant also contributed prizes to every participating school, including spoke lights, reusable bags and blinky clip-lights. National Bike to School Day is one of many events in CycleMAYnia: the South Coast’s month-long celebration of cycling!

COAST hopes that when families decide to use sustainable transportation on these special event days, they will experience the benefits it brings and consider making that decision more regularly. We also hope school organizers had so much fun that they will consider promoting monthly or weekly walk and bike events throughout the year!

Congratulations to the winning schools and students, and big thanks to all the principals, teachers, staff, parents, students and community members who made this event happen — part of the Safe Routes to School program organized by COAST, the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation.

— Barry Remis represents COAST's Safe Routes to School program.

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