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Annual Student Bike Essay Contest





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2001 Student Bicycle Essay Contest Winners

Below are the winning essays from the 2001 International Bicycle Fund Student Essay contest.  The winners are: How I Got My Second Bicycle by Marissa Wu, age 8 of Holy Rosary Elementary, Waterloo, Ontario and Bicycling & its Role in Society  by Christie Chamberlain, age 16 of Chantilly High, Fairfax, Virginia. Each receives a cash prize. Congratulations to the winners and thank you to all the students who submitted essays..

Bicycling & its Role in Society
by Christie Chamberlain

A few decades ago, one could look around and see many bicyclists. Whether a person was on his way to work, taking a scenic ride, or just enjoying the exercise, bikes were a popular mode of transportation. Today, in the twenty-first century, things have changed dramatically. A much more popular method of transportation is the bus or metro, not to mention our environmentally destructive vehicles! Biking has played such an important role in our society, today … and decades ago.

Not only is biking used for transportation among adults, it is quite the popular toy among young kids and pre-teenagers. The first day a kid learns how to ride his bike, is the best day. Children love their bikes. I think that it brings them a sense of freedom and makes them feel like they are on top of the world. Pushing the pedals the first time brings that unforgettable excitement and exhilaration … it makes the heart skip a beat. Bikes are such an important part of a kid’s childhood, learning and experiencing the thrill of a bike-ride around the neighborhood, is an experience that kids will never forget. Parents also share the thrill and excitement after they see that they have taught their kid how to ride a bike, it’s a big stepping stone. When their children fall is the only downside! No parent enjoys seeing scraped up knees or bloody noses. So if bikes are so popular among children, and adults teaching them, why has the craze died down?

Many things in the twenty-first century have dramatically changed and advanced. Bikes are rarely used for transportation anymore, not only due to cars and buses, but also because of the location of things. There are no more country roads, no more dirt paths in the city … everything is modernized. Everywhere one turns around there are tall buildings, smog, cars lined up bumper-to-bumper, horns honking, and people yelling obscenities. The places where people have to travel these days are not very accessible by bikes. I don’t think a man in his suit is going to want to travel twenty miles by bicycle to get to work. Some of the only places in the city that one would see many bikers would be on a special bike trail, paths when bicyclists exercise, and schoolyards where children ride their bikes to school (if they live relatively close.) Though biking is still used for transportation, its role in society has declined, and although it is still important in every kid’s childhood – that role has declined also.

Children are still roaming their neighborhoods on bicycles, but there is a new craze. Almost every kid craves and desires the new “Razor Scooter”, sold at many toy stores. Millions of those scooters were sold for Christmas this year, and they are taking over children’s want for a bike. Though most of those children still own a bicycle, it is probably stuffed away in the garage gathering dust, making way for the new scooter.

It is truly sad to see the decline in bikes in our society, but it is not getting better. With new technology and toys coming out, I think bikes will eventually be drowned out forever. Bikes may later become antiques, or may later become popular again, but right now they are still at a low point. Professional bicyclists are really the only people who appreciate bikes, and bicycling, for the rest of us it is a dying craze.

How I Got My Second Bicycle
by Marissa Wu

“Mom, I have a flat tire.” I had been riding my bike and had gotten a flat tire.

“Just wait,” said my mother.

I’ll tell you I had to wait for 2 years! It was a nice spring day we were at Madscience and were having fun when entering prizes. We met some volunteers for “Recycle Cycle” that fixed bikes and we asked where we could trade bikes. They told us and we were off!

We went upstairs and met a man named Paul. He was a volunteer. There were lots of bikes. We traded my old pink bike for another Beautiful Pink bike. We put beads from my old bike on to my new bike.

We took it home and put it in the garage and that is how I got my “new” bike.

[the entry included a hand drawn illustration of a bike with beads on the spokes.]

Annual Student Bicycle Essay Contest



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