MFF Joy for Bike & Roll to School Day

Bike & Roll to School Day event speaker with bike in foreground.
Jenks speaking at a BR2SD event at Osborn High School in Detroit

Bike and Roll to School Day (BR2SD) in May is one of the best days of the year.  Along with Walk and Roll to School Day (WR2SD) in October, it’s a chance for communities to demonstrate how active transportation could be a regular option for students and families to get to school and an opportunity to educate them on how to be safer when traveling.

For students that already bike, walk, and roll to school, the day serves as a reminder of their daily journey and the potential challenges that go with it, offering a chance for the adults in the community to take notice and work to remove the barriers they face.  Most of all, though, it’s a day when their friends join them for the trip to school and it’s a lot of fun.

Another important aspect of BR2SD is the opportunity for communities to celebrate the joy walking, biking, and rolling brings to students, neighborhoods, and schools! In the spirit of sharing bike joy, we thought we’d share the Safe Routes to School team’s favorite things about BR2SD and biking in general!


“Every May, I am impressed and encouraged by the way that schools and communities come together to create festive spaces for students to ride bikes and roll in a safe, fun way. Participating in the ride is a breath of fresh air and feels like the true start to spring! The parade to school is often followed by activities such as bike rodeos, mini rallies, and speeches from community leaders. To me, this shows a greater commitment to active transportation and resonates beyond that morning.”
~ SRTS Program Coordinator Adam Jenks, Osborn High School, Detroit

Female with helmet and glasses beside bike with a plant on its back rack with graffiti art on brick buildings in the background
Synk prior to her bike commute home in an alleyway with graffiti art on brick buildings

“Bike & Roll to School Day is probably my favorite work day of the year. Biking is one of my favorite things because it makes me feel strong and it makes me feel connected to the people and places I move through. While we work to help students get on bikes and have safe places and spaces to bike daily, I get to directly share my love of biking and see the connection biking provides in the excited faces of students as they experience the fun and freedom of transportation on two wheels during Bike & Roll to School Day.”
~ SRTS Senior Operations and Evaluation Coordinator Colleen Synk, Bennett Woods Elementary School, Okemos


Two MFF staff at BR2SD event with students in the background
Moomaw and Nowak at JE Clark Preparatory Academy event

“The wind and rain during Bike and Roll to School Day activities at the JE Clark Preparatory Academy on May 3 could have made the event a dreary affair”, recalled Safe Routes to School Director Mary Moomaw. “Instead, the students, staff, teachers, and volunteers made it a day to remember. They had many ways for students to engage with walking and biking to school, including a safety talk to help them learn how to bike to and from school more safely. This group inspired Chris Nowak MFF’s Director of Information and Technology and me beyond measure. Because of this event and the student’s inspiration, I am excited to hop on my bike instead of climbing in my car when I have errands to run or friends to visit.”

~SRTS Director Mary Moomaw, JE Clark Preparatory Academy, Detroit

“As the sun was rising, a group of students, parents, and educators in Grayling were already gathering at the Michelson Memorial United Methodist Church for the walk up Michigan Avenue to Grayling Elementary School. By the time we were ready to leave, we had about 20 students, mostly on bikes, and plenty of parents to make the trip.  Along the route, there was a busy intersection where the county Sheriff stationed personnel to help the group cross.  When the kids got to school, they locked their bikes on the rack outside the school and went inside to start their day.  As I was walking back to my car, I continued to see students on bikes, riding alone or in pairs, and whole families on bikes riding to school.  Although not everyone joined the group ride, it was great to see how many people still chose to participate on their own.

The people in Grayling embraced the event, and also had several factors going in their favor. They had good sidewalks on the route and had assistance from law enforcement. They have a local champion, Samantha Rogers, who is the School Nurse and is passionate about the health and safety of the students. They already have some students who regularly walk, bike, and roll to school. Given all that, it’s not surprising that the event was a success, but it was not guaranteed either. People really stepped up to make a plan for the day and execute it, much like coaches prepare a team for the big game. For Safe Routes to School, the event is like our Superbowl, World Series, and Stanley Cup, except on Bike and Roll to School day everybody wins.”
~SRTS Senior Contracts and Data Coordinator Max Fulkerson, Grayling Elementary School, Grayling 

Group photo of Grayling students and parents with a MFF staff member at BR2SD 2023 event
Fulkerson (top middle) with parents and students from Grayling

If you would like assistance as you plan for Walk and Roll to School Day next October, please reach out to Adam Jenks at Michigan Fitness Foundation.

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