Introducing City Charter High School Bike Club
Guest Blog Contributor: Katie Bordner, City Charter High School
When I moved to Pittsburgh 5 years ago my first job here was working at Positive Spin, a middle school bike summer camp hosted at Pittsburgh Public School’s Summer Dreamers Academy. It was the best summer job I’ve ever had, and it helped me learn about all the great trails and park infrastructure the city has.
That fall I started working at City Charter High School, a public charter school located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. Because City High has a year-round schedule, (three months on, one month off), I wasn’t able to participate in Positive Spin anymore. However, this year, in partnership with BikePGH and Healthy Ride, we were able to bring a Positive Spin style bike club to the City High students!
During the summer trimester this school year, every Tuesday and Thursday and group of students and I would grab our lunches and helmets then head to the nearest Healthy Ride station to rent bikes and ride! We were out and about for a little over an hour.
Students joined bike club for a variety of reasons
Some wanted to exercise, others wanted a chance to get out of the school building for part of the day, and others saw it as an opportunity to explore the city. Another student mentioned that they had previously had a negative incident with biking, and hadn’t bike since. They saw bike club as an opportunity to get over their fear in a more encouraging setting.
“Biking is cool, very freeing. I like how fast we can go, and how much exercise I get.” – Amelia
“Biking club makes me feel excited because I get to explore the City of Pittsburgh” – Alaa
“When I’m cycling I feel the breeze on my back. That freedom feeling is exciting” – Nick
“Of course, biking makes me tired, but it makes me feel happy to be able to just ride around.” – Peri
Our routes were varied in distance and difficulty
Each day we would picnic somewhere different for lunch. Some days we tried to get as far as we could, other days we biked to specific locations like fountains or scenic vistas. We logged our miles using Strava and participated in The National Bike Challenge.
Students enjoyed various aspects of bike club. Some loved the adrenaline of riding downhill, others appreciated how accomplished they felt after climbing up a big hill or biking for miles. A few students’ favorite part of bike club was getting to know other students and be able to converse with friends. And other students highlighted the variety of places that we biked to as their favorite part of the club.
Positive Spin, Positive Gains
At the end of bike club, there were significant positive gains in perceptions of safety and confidence for students as it relates to biking. All students reported feeling safer as a cyclist or pedestrian (71% Strongly Agree, 29% Agree), and having a better understanding of the rules of biking (63% Strongly Agree, 37% Agree). Over 90% plan to use Healthy Ride bikes again and get involve with BikePGH through events, rides, or volunteering.
It’s been a great summer of biking and learning, and we couldn’t have done it without BikePGH and Healthy Ride Pittsburgh!