Pedaling with a Purpose

A program of Top of Michigan Trails Council

Your gift in support of this program will help us demonstrate the joy of biking to more fourth graders in Emmet County.

2023 Highlights

  • 17 all-day educational bike rides over 6 weeks
  • 359 kids on bikes
  • 84 volunteers contributing to 1,600 hours of volunteer time to make this program possible

Pedaling with a Purpose
4th Grade Educational Bike Rides in Emmet County & Charlevoix

What do 359 4th grade students and 84 volunteers have in common? They all participated in 2023’s Pedaling with a Purpose.

In 2016 we launched Pedaling with a Purpose. This program is designed to get kids outside. Combining science, geography, history, and most importantly, health, students spend the day reading maps, taking nature walks, discovering local history, and learning the life cycle of fish, as well as basic bicycle mechanics and etiquette to ride in a group.

Although the day is filled with fun and learning, our focus is on health. The health challenges facing our youth today are staggering.

  • Childhood obesity has more than quadrupled in the last 40 years. The percentage of children aged 10-17 in the U.S. who are obese has risen from 7% in 1980 to 32% in 2016.
  • Type 2 Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic disease in the US and it isn’t just adults any more. The number of adolescences with this condition has skyrocketed over the last 20 years prompting experts to call it an epidemic.
  • There is also a growing concern over the effects of sedentary lifestyles on young people. Rapid increase in juvenile obesity is now being linked to spending more time in front of a screen and less time engaging in physical activities.

And sadly, these three health challenges that have faced our youth over the last few decades have only multiplied the last year and half due to setbacks we have experienced because of COVID-19.

Never before have children been so plugged in and so out of touch with the natural world.  The 3 years our Pedaling with a Purpose program ran (2016-2019) prior to COVID, it provided Emmet County kids an opportunity to be outside, exercising and experiencing first-hand the beautiful area in which they live.  Our goal?  Get them turned on to biking… a form of cardiovascular exercise that they can carry with them throughout their lives.

Cheers…to Pedaling with a Purpose!

This program was made possible through generous donations from:

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