Proud to Sponsor County’s First Bike To School Day

It was a lot of fun to be at the school I adopted 15 years ago, Rufino Mendoza Elementary, the first thing this morning. I had just found about the national Bike to School Day that was only two weeks away, was surprised that no school in Tarrant County had ever participated in this event, and asked the principal if I could plan it. She and her staff enthusiastically supported the idea and I went to work.

I found out about Bikes for Tykes, which graciously donated 23. The kids are excited they get their very own bicycles.

I also learned that the Tarrant County Medical Society Auxiliary gave away helmets and its gift of those red helmets you see is certainly appreciated. Fort Worth requires anyone under 18 to wear one (although Texas doesn’t) so I was about to buy these.

All of the children said they had a good time this morning and that it was cool to begin their school day exercising.

So why should we encourage children to ride a bicycle? Or exercise at all? Many studies have shown that children who do this are not only fitter, but are better students. They have a higher IQ, higher social well-being, and are happier. Not enough of our children get even one hour of physical exercise — the minimum recommended each day.

I would like for schools to encourage their students to be more physically active and eat more nutritious foods.

I was lucky growing up to have the freedom I did back in the 60’s. I got to ride my bike around Nashville. All of my friends did. Our parents didn’t have to worry about whether we were safe. We were also lucky to live near a huge park and I loved speeding down its windy roads on a neighbor’s 10-speed that I earned by cutting his grass that summer. With this early start, I have ridden a bicycle, run, and lifted weights most of my life.

I want children to experience the joy and freedom that being strong, riding a bicycle, running, and just being outside and away from the television set or video game can bring.

I also want to give back to the wonderful Fort Worth community where I have lived for almost 40 years after graduating from the Southern Methodist University law school in Dallas.

This was my first event as an Ambassador to the Blue Zones Project and I am excited to be a part of this dynamic group. The nonprofit organization works to make communities safer, give businesses more productive work forces, and lower the ridiculously high cost of health care we all pay. Fort Worth has experienced significant improvements in public safety since becoming a Blue Zone five years ago.

I want to keep working to get more people to ride a bicycle, run, or walk.

If you don’t have a bike, we have 46 rental stations operated by B-Cycle all over Fort Worth and you can even rent an electric one. On Sunday in honor of Mother’s Day, there is a special 50% savings if you go onto its web site. What better way to get some exercise, live a healthy life, and have some fun?

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