Late December News Tidbits

  • Cycling rates are on the upswing! An encouraging article at Governing.com about the rise in bicycles’ popularity. The author points out the need to view bikes as a means of active transportation and not simply a form of recreation (though they are fabulously fun to ride too – bonus!).
  • Childhood obesity prevention in the Southeast – A new campaign aims to “prevent childhood obesity in low-income communities across the southeast”.  This program will focus on promoting healthy eating and physical activity in schools and communities. It will use “students as mentors” and encourage youth to share what they learned at school with their family. The southeast is in great need of more programs such as this – I am excited to bring the School Food Tour to this region.
  • Recipes for Healthy Kids contest – Entries to this USDA competition are due on December 30. Supported by Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, this program is designed to “introduce exciting new recipes into the National School Lunch Program”. Each category’s top scoring recipes will be published in a cookbook for students and families.

A Timely Opportunity – The IATP Food & Society Fellowship

Readers! Allow me to introduce the extremely exciting Food & Society Fellowship program from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.  This program is a fabulous opportunity for creative individuals looking to gain technical and financial support on projects dedicated to food system reform. Pioneering initiatives such as Food Corps and Parent Earth are products of previous fellows. I endeavor to add the School Food Bicycle Tour to this list! My weekend was consumed with drafting responses to the application questions and writing my cover letter. I encourage any of you out there with big ideas for creating a more equitable food system to apply. I, for one, plan to submit my materials promptly.  Cross your fingers for the School Food Tour!

Kids on bikes… lots of them!

Bikes! Snow! Bikes + snow? = Cyclocross. This week Bend is hosting the Cyclocross National Championships… it has brought forth a profusion of cyclists young and old, large and small, professional racers and recreational riders. For those of you who aren’t familiar with ‘Cross racing, visit PDX ‘Cross for a visual representation of what might be the most diverse cycling event around. In brief, a race usually involves skinny tires, mud, a bit of running, and A LOT of smiles. I love Cyclocross because it feels like a true celebration of ‘all things bike’. Out on the course it is highly probable you will see a lycra-clad athlete riding alongside a fellow bike-lover huffing and puffing in his jeans. Seriously.

My favorite part about this week’s event is watching the kiddos. The crowds always cheer the loudest for those teeny boys and girls pedaling their little hearts out. These young cyclists warm my heart! Introducing bikes to a child early in life is a key component to developing a lifelong cyclist who rides for fitness, transport and enjoyment.

What about the non-racers? I believe strongly in providing access to bikes for ALL youth – not only those privileged enough to attend a National Championship. In that vein, for youth who simply want to give their cycling legs a trial spin, The Bend Endurance Academy created a bike rodeo featuring a skill building obstacle course, loaner bikes & helmets. Bend also is home to a fantastic Community Bike Shed that refurbishes and services bikes for low-income residents.

I’m off to watch the races. I’ll try to get some photos of the kiddos and the crowds to post later on!