Ninth and tenth-grade students from the Communities at Oshkosh North program invited community members to participate in the National Bike to Work Day. Students partnered with local businesses to operate ten outdoor pit stops throughout the city, promoting the health, economic, and environmental benefits of biking to work while stimulating a more visible biking culture on the roads and bike paths in the Oshkosh area.
To prepare for the day, celebrated on May 21, Communities at Oshkosh North Instructor Rick Leib explained, “Students met with city planners, a representative from the Oshkosh Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, planners from the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Committee, a representative of the Wisconsin Bike Federation... the East Central WI Regional Planning Commission, and the American Heart Association.” Students also investigated the characteristics of the top 20 bike-friendly communities in the United States, and bike federation representatives conducted a bike safety course to make sure students were comfortable and confident biking. More than half of the 70 students involved have participated in community bike rides leading up to the event.
To learn more about biking in the community, students examined a study of Oshkosh infrastructure and bike ridership and found that two-thirds of Oshkosh residents live within 20 minutes of their work, though only .65% of Oshkosh residents actually use their bikes for transportation.
When asked what more he would like to share, Leib enthusiastically responded, “The students can’t help but get engaged. They were reading primary sources--regional studies,” he said. “Kids broke into groups of 3-4 and each had to study one of the top 20 most bike-friendly cities in the United States. They asked ‘what do they have that we don’t, and compare to Oshkosh. We’re not so bad, we just need to get more people out riding bikes.”