Bicycle Friendly America Fall 2017 - 7

OCEANO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL:
BICYCLE FRIENDLY BUSINESS
JIM DECECCO

FALL 2017

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF JIM DECECCO

O

ceano Elementary School was honored this year as the only school
designated as a Gold level Bicycle
Friendly Business in the United States.
The League asked us to share some stories on why we received this important
recognition.
Oceano Elementary School is located
on the Central Coast of California. The
school has 450 students, 85% of which
are of Hispanic heritage. The families of
Oceano are the backbone of the community. Many are hardworking people
toiling in the fields, cleaning local hotels
and laboring at construction jobs. Their
efforts keep our economy humming.
The journey towards developing our
current bike culture started 10 years ago.
As any teacher knows, student interest
in different recreational activities goes in
cycles. One year it is marbles. The next
year it is scooters, and this year it was
fidget spinners. Ten years ago, the "in"
thing at Oceano became bikes. We had
ditched our bike racks many years before.
No one complained because no one rode
a bike (except one teacher who stored it
in his classroom). When a group of boys
decided they wanted to ride bikes to
school, there was no place to store them.
The boys asked teacher who also biked if
they could keep their bikes in his classroom for safe keeping. With zero bike
infrastructure at school the answer was
"yes." Soon there were 15 bikes stored in
the class along with 30 student desks and
30 students who were there to learn.
As one could well imagine, moving
around the classroom became extremely
difficult, but at Oceano we promote any
activity that is positive and healthy for
students. Having an interest in bikes is a
lot better than trading Pokémon cards or

arguing over marbles. It didn't take long
for the principal to recognize the need
for purchasing some bike racks. Then
came the inevitable need to start fixing
bikes as they broke. Fortunately, we had
a custodian who enjoyed working with
students and was willing to multitask as
students brought their broken bikes to
him at recess.
At this point it is important to state
that many good things happen at schools
when principals empower students and
staff. The power of "yes" goes a long way
toward making schools an exciting place
to be. Fortunately, we have had great
principals that say "yes." Our principal at
the time, Tom Butler, saw a lot of positive
energy circulating around bikes that year.
When Rideshare, a local governmental
organization, offered seed money from

their Safe Routes grant to help us promote bikes, we jumped at the chance.
Hence was born the Oceano Bike Posse.
Staff wanted to show 6th graders how to
ride safely to their middle school. Mr.
Butler said "yes" to a couple of teachers
leading interested students on a bike
ride to their new school. Most principals
would look at this activity as being dangerous, and worry about liability, but not
our principals. They see bike riding as a
safe form of transportation and riding
had the potential to be a valuable teaching tool. Because there was an ice cream
shop on the way to the middle school,
we had to stop and get a little ice cream.
We rode seven miles that day, and the
students loved it. It was so successful,
students pestered staff to do more rides.
The Oceano Bike Posse has been riding
BICYCLE FRIENDLY AMERICA 7


https://www.facebook.com/OceanoElementary/ https://www.facebook.com/OceanoElementary/ http://www.bikeleague.org/business http://www.bikeleague.org/business http://www.santamariatimes.com/news/local/oceano-bike-posse-still-rolling-strong/article_7d636c8f-dc27-56a6-8eba-5b4f3920a46c.html

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Bicycle Friendly America Fall 2017

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Bicycle Friendly America Fall 2017 - No label
Bicycle Friendly America Fall 2017 - Cover1
Bicycle Friendly America Fall 2017 - Cover2
Bicycle Friendly America Fall 2017 - 1
Bicycle Friendly America Fall 2017 - 2
Bicycle Friendly America Fall 2017 - 3
Bicycle Friendly America Fall 2017 - 4
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Bicycle Friendly America Fall 2017 - Cover3
Bicycle Friendly America Fall 2017 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Summer2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Winter2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Fall2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Summer2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Winter2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Fall2016_GatewayDemo
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Fall2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/mercury/bikeleague/BFA_Spring2016
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com