Mayor’s Ride Hits the Streets with Park Dale School

To encourage students to get active and ride their bikes, Mayor Christopher went back to school on this year’s Mayor’s Ride.  Held each year during Bay of Quinte Bike Month, the Mayor’s Ride showcases the City’s cycling infrastructure like bike lanes, trails and underpasses, and encourages Council members and others to experience biking in Belleville first-hand.

This year, the Mayor’s Ride was a youth-focused event. In partnership with Park Dale School, Mayor Christopher led Park Dale School staff, students and their families on a one-kilometer ride to school. The ride was supported by Belleville on Bikes, the City’s Green Task Force and Belleville Police Services who acted as route marshals.

“This ride was about educating tomorrow’s commuters,” says Mayor Christopher. “We want to encourage our young people to choose cycling as a way to get around town and this was a way to show them how to do it safely.” Similar events in other communities have grown in the number of schools participating year over year and have resulted in more students riding to school on a regular basis following the event.

“We know that approximately twenty children currently ride their bikes to Park Dale and our hope is this event demonstrated what a great option biking to school is for neighbourhood families,” says event organizer Jennifer McTavish of the YMCA of Central East Ontario and the City’s Green Task Force. “Park Dale has done a tremendous job encouraging healthy and active living among its staff and students and this event was a natural extension of that.”

Park Dale has embraced a focus on supporting students and staff to “eat better, move more, sleep well, and think clearly” as part of its School Improvement Plan for Student Achievement and Well-Being. The school formed a Healthy Active School Club, led by two teachers and made up of students from both the junior and intermediate divisions, which has been busy planning and carrying out a range of activities and events to get students moving like Fun Runs, Yogathons, Walk Across Canada Pedometer Challenge and Dodgeball for Change. The club is part of a school-wide initiative to promote physical literacy and healthy living that has earned Park Dale School the Ontario Physical and Health Education (OPHEA) healthy schools certification – one of only 174 elementary and secondary schools in Ontario to do so. 

“Our success is attributed to the dedication and leadership of our teachers, support from School Administration and School Council and the involvement of many community groups and organizations,” says Derek DeLarge, Principal of Park Dale School. “A number of our events have been charitable in nature so not only are our students getting the mental and physical benefits of exercise, they’re learning how to have a positive influence on their community.”

Bay of Quinte Bike Month is taking place across the Bay of Quinte Region from May 27-June 24. For a full list of events for kids and adults alike download this year’s Bike Month Poster & Event Calendar.

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