Cecil Floyd bike bus celebrates 2,000 miles ridden this year

May 8—Students with the Cecil Floyd Elementary School bike bus collectively passed 2,000 miles riding to and from school this academic year.

The milestone was marked Wednesday, National Bike to School Day.

The bike bus, started by Christina Williams, brings together students and families and promotes safety, camaraderie and physical activity for children.

Last year, the bike bus celebrated its 100th ride May 1, the start of bike month.

"This year, the kids have ridden so much that we passed 100 days a long time ago," Williams said. "I keep stats on how many riders we have each day, things like that. Once I saw that we were going to reach 2,000 miles around National Bike to School Day, I wanted to have a big celebration."

At Cecil Floyd's entrance, Bike Walk Joplin hosted the cheer squad welcoming the bike bus on its milestone day. School staff, resource officers and community members cheered as the kids arrived on their bikes. Colorful signs and balloons decorated the school for their arrival. Each rider received a medal marking the achievement.

"Celebration is a really big component," Williams said. "This milestone is a big deal for the kids to do this. It's an inspiring story and a positive note in everyone's day."

Williams' son, Greyson Wimsett, set a goal of riding to and from school all 170 days of his fifth-grade year. So far he's met the challenge, riding an estimated 250 total miles. He'll reach his goal on the last day of school, May 24, also his 11th birthday.

"I'm pretty sure I'm going to achieve that," Greyson said. "I thought this would be a good achievement before moving on from Cecil Floyd, it would be a good thing to do."

Greyson has ridden to school in all kinds of weather, even riding when school was canceled. Technically, they would have had school, he explained. Even though he was slipping and sliding in snow, with his mom following in the car, the day still counted toward his goal.

"It was challenging on snowy days and rainy days," Greyson said. "But overall, I think those hard days are what really kept me going."

Greyson said the challenge has taught him perseverance. While the bike bus has the benefit of exercise, it also has a mental benefit, he said. Waking up every morning and riding to school is a great way to start his day. He said he also looks forward to being with his friends and the freedom of riding his bike.

"In a car, it's all about how the driver does it," he said. "But on a bike, you can make your own decisions."

For Sophia Spencer, also in the fifth grade, the bike bus fosters a sense of community. She said she joined for the social aspect. She was new to Cecil Floyd this year and didn't know many people.

"When we moved to this new school, I just wanted to ride the bike bus to have a fun adventure," Sophia said. Now she has a core group of friends who ride every day. Sophia said she liked the activity a lot, even though it was hard at the beginning.

The growing Joplin bike bus community has about 14 riders daily, Williams said. Bike buses are becoming a growing trend across the country. A website at bikebus.world helps organize efforts nationally, shares information and resources and helps new bike buses get started.

When Greyson and other fifth graders move on to North Middle School next school year, the group is planning a bike bus route to North Middle School in addition to the Cecil Floyd route. Williams has met with school administration and the SRO for route planning for the bike bus, which will probably start with one day a week.

"They really learn independence," Williams said. These kids are growing up being able to get to school and back generally by themselves. They've got that freedom and independence, as well as the courage to get out even if it's sprinkling or it's cold and be physically active."