Pedaling with a Purpose
4th Grade Educational Bike Rides in Emmet County & Charlevoix
For the last 40 years, the Top of Michigan Trails Council has been advocating and leading the development of amazing bike trails in our corner of northwest Michigan. Their vision, passion and hard work has resulted in world-class non-motorized transportation and recreation for thousands and thousands of people in our area, and continues to grow with upcoming projects like the Nakwema (nah-KWAY-mah) Trailway, linking Charlevoix and Traverse City.
When we launched our Kids Pedaling with a Purpose program in 2016, the vision and purpose was to have a higher percentage of those numbers be kids… for many reasons.
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!