Specialized Dealer in Kentucky Bringing Bikes to School

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Specialized dealer Pedal The Planet enhanced a bicycle program for students at Woodford County Middle School.

Melody Hamilton is a teacher in the Woodford County School system. She started the Woodford County Tiger Bikes program in 2002 with donated bikes and equipment, hoping to get middle school students riding bicycles for fitness, to teach students to change a flat and keep their bike tuned, and to teach them how to use bicycles as transportation including how to ride their bikes to school.

The Tiger Bikes program is an ongoing PE class taught throughout the school year for all students. The culminating activity for the unit is a 5-mile police escorted ride through the community. Volunteers can ride with the students and provide first aid/water stations along the way.

Melody says, “It’s a great opportunity to get the community involved in our programs and gives students the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned in a real-world setting.”

Pedal The Planet, a Specialized bike shop in Lexington, KY has donated bikes to her program since 2007. In late 2012, Melody came to Pedal The Planet wanting to upgrade the bikes used in her program. The older donated bikes required lots of work, time and energy.

Owners Mark and Wendy Trimble had an idea. Specialized Bicycles, sold exclusively in Lexington by Pedal The Planet, had a program called First Gear. It is a program that provides support for efforts directed at getting kids on bikes. Why not apply for a grant from Specialized?

They came up with a list of equipment that would help make the WCMS Tiger Bikes program effective in teaching kids cycling as a lifetime fitness activity and as transportation, and applied for the grant.

Pedal The Planet received a Specialized grant for half of all the Specialized bikes and equipment for the Tiger Bikes program!

The Tiger bikes program has now received forty new Specialized Hardrock 29” Disc bicycles, 100 Specialized helmets, Specialized extra parts, tools, tubes and pumps. They also received bicycle mechanics stands and tools to teach basic bicycle maintenance. For days when training outside isn’t possible they now have ten bicycle trainers and five training DVDs. Pedal the Planet sent a bike mechanic to the Woodford County Middle School to train all Woodford County PE teachers the basics of bike maintenance.

In 2011, Kentucky had an adult obesity rate of 30%. The Woodford County School District has an obesity rate of 57%. Pedal the Planet and Specialized are happy to promote lifetime fitness activities to kids in Kentucky to help reverse this terrible epidemic. Currently only two kids out of 900 ride their bikes to the Woodford County Middle School. Many students do not own bikes and there are a few who have not learned to ride a bike. Through the Tiger Bikes program, students are learning to ride bikes consistently as part of a PE class.

Pedal The Planet believes in giving back to their community. As Mark says, “It is nice to see advocacy go full circle. Customers support our shop, and we support cycling advocacy efforts in our community. Being able to leverage our advocacy efforts with Specialized’s national efforts benefits the Tiger Bikes program and our community. We hope that through efforts like the Tiger Bikes program, we can help make Kentuckians healthier. We hope this becomes a model program for schools around the state”.

For Specialized, it’s a long-term game. “Our efforts today to improve cycling infrastructure, trails and programming all contribute to our ultimate vision for the future: every child riding a bike.” Melody and Pedal The Planet couldn’t agree more.

To learn more about the WCMS Tiger Bikes program, you can contact Melody Hamilton at melody.hamilton@woodford.kyschools.us. To learn more about Pedal the Planet, contact Mark or Wendy Trimble wendy@pedaltheplanet.com