Thursday, April 27, dawned cool and brisk in Lubbock, the temperature dipping to near 40. Not the best of conditions for the inaugural Texas Bike & Walk to School Day; however, Coalition staffers Durwood Mayfield and Sherman Phillips still optimistically approached Bowie Elementary to find children already arriving on their bikes.
They were met at the office by Principal Anita Rangel and assistant Principal Robert Bolton, who advised them as to which children could be photographed. They set up a table as volunteer team leader Karla Kimmel-Mathis arrived. Karla brought bracelets donated by Bowie PTA for all walkers and cyclists, and these were added to the bookmarks and workbooks Mayfield and Phillips brought for the students.
For a morning as brisk as this one, Mayfield and Phillips were pleasantly surprised at the turnout. Also in attendance was Mayor Pro-Tem Tom Martin to show his and the City of Lubbock’s support for Texas Bicycle Coalition and the BikeTexas Safe Routes to School program. Several parents also stopped by and expressed their gratitude for the Texas Bike & Walk to School Day and the BikeTexas Safe Routes to School program. Approximately 20 cyclists rode, and at least that many walked, to school.
The afternoon found Mayfield and Phillips at Whiteside Elementary for the send-off to home for all of the cyclist and walkers. Volunteer school team leader Debra Perry introduced Mayfield and Phillips to Principal Joe Williams. LISD Public Information Director Nancy Sharp had cleared the way for them to photograph the cyclists and walkers and Principal Williams introduced the Coalition staff to some of the cyclists they were to photograph. The children enthusiastically participated in the photo session.
Student cyclists ranged in age from a four-year old who rode with his mother to meet his sister for the ride home to a 16-year old who is confined to a wheel chair. The young man in the wheel chair normally makes the daily three-block trip to school with his sister lending a helping hand, weather permitting.
A total of 22 cyclists and a really large number of walkers participated in the event. Each one who checked in at the departure was given one of the Coalition’s bike safety workbooks, a bike safety bookmark and a short safety talk by outreach coordinators Durwood Mayfield and Sherman Phillips.
One of the other participating schools, Roscoe Wilson had approximately 30 bikes in their bike rack on April 27. There were other schools in the Lubbock area who participated and a report from them will follow later.
So, Mayfield and Phillips feel that, in spite of the really cool spring morning, the first Texas Bike & Walk to School Day was a definite success in that it brought out both walking and cycling students and parents.
After a full day of Texas Bike & Walk to School Day activities, Mayfield and Phillips attended a meeting of the Redbud Area Lions Club. They gave a presentation on the Texas Bicycle Coalition, the BikeTexas Safe Routes to School Program and the success of the Texas Bike & Walk to School Day. In addition, they were also able to recruit volunteers from the Lions Club membership for the Safe Routes Traffic Surveys that will begin during in May.