Millidgeville North School (MNS) is thrilled to announce that they are one of three schools in Canada who have received an extensive grant towards a remarkable addition to their physical education program. The school has partnered with the non-profit organization Outride: Riding for Focus, who are dedicated to improving the lives of youth through cycling.
This Saint John middle school was provided with everything needed to get their 6th-8th grade students riding, including 25 Specialized bikes
Riding for Focus (R4F) is a middle school-based physical education program, that promotes cycling as an outlet for students to improve their cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional well-being, while also helping to cultivate inclusive cycling communities.
This Saint John middle school was provided with everything needed to get their 6th-8th grade students riding, including 25 Specialized bikes, helmets, curriculum, and teacher training. MNS is excited to work towards Outride’s mission and increase access to cycling for young people, so that every student can experience the freedom, joy, and community that riding a bike can provide.
The bikes were assembled in Fredericton at Savage’s Bike Shop, and delivered to MNS on October 22nd. Locally, Hayward’s Bike Shop in Saint John will help the school maintain this new fleet of bikes. A few parents and teachers are also discussing trail stewardship initiatives, so that students can ride trails near the school additional to practicing on the school-grounds and field trips to ride in Rockwood Park. Local partnerships like this are a crucial part of the Outride program.
What is Outride?
Founded in 2014, Outride is a non-profit organization that partners with schools, community partners, coaches, teams, and cyclists to advance more equitable, inclusive, and healthy futures for youth. Through research, school-based cycling programs, and matching community grants, Outride harnesses the benefits of cycling for the cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical well-being of youth while also helping to cultivate inclusive cycling communities. Outride’s mission is to increase access to cycling so that every kid can experience the freedom, joy, and community that riding a bike can provide.
Outride has partnered with 200 schools and granted $1M+ to over 100 cycling programs
What has Outride’s impact been to date?
Since 2014, Outride has partnered with 200 schools and granted $1M+ to over 100 cycling programs, impacting over 50,000 youth annually. Outride’s mission is to increase access to cycling for young people so that every kid can experience the freedom, joy, and community that riding a bike can provide.
What is Outride’s Riding for Focus program?
Riding for Focus (R4F) is our middle school-based physical education program. Developed as a result of our initial research findings, R4F promotes cycling as an outlet for students to improve their cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional well-being. Schools can acquire R4F via two pathways – by purchasing the program, or for schools serving marginalized communities, by applying for a program grant. Schools are provided with everything they need to get their 6th-8th grade students riding, including bikes, helmets, curriculum, and intensive teacher training.
Riding for Focus has been implemented in nearly 200 schools—providing cycling education and access to 50,000 students to bikes during their school day—and 57% of schools in our R4F network serve communities where the majority of their students qualify for free/reduced lunches.
Why cycling and not other sports?
Cycling is inclusive. Students are more able to be engaged, especially since there isn’t any sitting on the sidelines. It’s also one of the few forms of exercise that virtually any student can participate in, while also getting the cardio that we’re finding is needed to positively influence brain function. More so, cycling is easy to learn, and it quickly builds up confidence in kids and gives them a sense of accomplishment.
Exploring the neighborhoods around school and home by bike instills a sense of freedom and independence. Of course, riding also helps build lasting relationships between kids. We’ve found that a group develops camaraderie between classmates and teachers, and this improves the dynamic of student-to-student and student-to-teacher relationships. But let’s not forget the easiest lesson here—riding is fun!
This story will also be featured as part of a local Bell TV and Hemmings House Pictures production called Breaking Trail – a fun look at many facets of mountain biking in Southern New Brunswick.