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Annual Student Bike Essay Contest





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2012 Student Bicycle Essay Contest Winners

We are pleased to present the winning essays from the 2012 International Bicycle Fund Student Essay contest.  We send our praise to everyone who entered and shared their ideas with us. The winners are: "Rhinothon 2012" by Aryan Kacha, age 8, SCLPS Academy, Nairobi, Kenya; "Kannan Villas Children Cycling Group" by Shefali Kacha, age 10, SCLPS Academy, Nairobi, Kenya; and, "Bicycling in the Past and Now" by Simeon Trendafilov, age 13, East Prairie School, Skokie, Il.

Each writer receives a cash prize and certificate.  Congratulations to the winners and thank you to all the students who submitted essays.

Rhinothon 2012
By Aryan Kacha, age 8

One busy Saturday, as my dad was helping me and my siblings (one sister and two twin brothers), load our four bicycles into the huge car, my mum reminded us about safety. We all ran back into the house, got our safety equipment; helmets, torch, knee-pads and reflectors.  We finally got ready to drive to our destination.  Because the roads were bumpy, all the bicycles in our car were hitting each other and making terrible, irritating noises.

When we finally reached we jumped out of the car and rushed our bicycles out of the vehicles. We met our team mates, greeted each other and made new friends.  Finally, we started.  There were ten girls in our group.  Our group’s name was King’s Juniors and we were the most well equipped team.  In the first round someone’s bike chain got loose and fell off.  When the person was taken for first-aid the bicycle was being repaired.

Next was my turn. I adjusted the helmet to my small head, put on my knee pads and reflectors, jumped on my bike, switched on my torch on and zoomed off.  Everyone was cheering for me. On my way the tyre on the bicycle had a loud bang and guess what?  My tyre burst. I was petrified.  I started crying not knowing what to do. Suddenly, the lights went off.  Everyone was screaming their heads off except me because my torch was off and I couldn’t see were I was going.

The lights then came back.  I was very tired and exhausted.  My bicycle (spare) was used by someone else, and I dozed-off to sleep. Then when I woke-up, I found out my bicycle was gone! I was really scared and someone told me that someone took it away and ran away and my mum ran after the boy and made him understand. My mum then brought my bike back to the tent safe.

I then rode for a couple of rounds and then some good news came to me.  My old bike was repaired. It was then my turn and it was drizzling. I was shattering because I thought I would fall off due to the wet, sticky mud.  So many people were injured.

It was then 1:00am in the morning and I ate glucose to keep me awake.  My mum called my dad to pick us up.  We all went home and went off to bed. In the morning, 10:00am, we calculated that we only got sleep for nine hours. We told dad everything that happened.  Finally we got what we wanted – WIN! It was worth practicing with my bike!

Kannan Villas Children Cycling Group
by Shefali Kacha, age 10

Although we are all from diverse age groups, social backgrounds and countries, we have one thing in common – we love cycling. It was the end of second term exams with only two more papers to go.  Rhinothan was a week after. Daddy was a “no” to cycling for twelve hours, thinking we are still small to have muscle pulls, injuries, the list is ever going on for him. How I wished a fairy would make him change his mind.

Mummy was flexible, but my twin brothers had not preformed as expected in school and had done worse then the previous report. This wasn’t fair for my sister, Renee, who is eleven and me, ten. We had fun and lots or merriment at the previous three annual cycling Rhinothans. How could parents deprive us the merriment?

My first birthday-bicycle was at the age of four, with side wheels for a day and than off.  I was all over the compound when other neighbours were coming out for evening walks, after their hectic life schedules of the day.  I dreamt, slept and played with my bike.  How much pleasure it was being out with all the crowd and meeting people from all backgrounds and culture.  Mingling and making friends.  No homework or assignments to finish, or deadlines to meet.

We all helped in the chores and had the best behaviour, praying hard to God for daddy to change his mind as deadline for the forms was three days away. All the collections go to protect rhinos, the most hunted specimen because of its horns has medical value for Chinese in the hope it cures all types of diseases.  It is more expensive than gold, hard drugs and diamonds.

Every evening we cycled in our playground as it was half day school during exams. I studied for better half of the afternoon and being very hot we all went out at five, when mummy came back from work.  It was wicked with all children buying bicycles. Helmets were a must because of the steep hill we have in the estate.

This is where I learned to ride the mountain bike 26”, my feet will never touch the floor.  The happy shrieks and laughter filled the neighbourhood and the parents felt good that the children were nowhere near the Juke box – television. We all ate what was given and went back for our turns on the bikes, alas my bike was the newest and just fully serviced and coming top ten in the class added to some more benefits like having an extra hour cycling on my own with my best friend all the space was ours.

Mum started to notice that I had stopped coughing during the night and was puzzled what had helped after all the doctors medications and home remedies had failed.  I told her it was since I had started cycling.  She dismissed it at first and later realised I was right because of the clean air inhaled had cleared my system.

We started four times in a week to enjoy an hours ride for more than two stars in the our charts. This led to us to being responsible. We all strived to outdo each other and felt a change within our selves, finishing homework, returning clothes in their places -- we had house helps who did it for us, spoilt brats.

We started going for shopping on our bikes and encouraged our neighbours to do the same as our street has a back road with less vehicles and a forest at the end of the estate.  Soon a group of fifty individuals saw the benefits of children mingling, exchanging ideas and learning to share their bicycles to feel the adventure in different sizes, shapes and colours - the safety of cycling in the forest and helping to plant trees as the long rains have started.

Mummy started learning to ride, which I thought she never would at forty, but she proved me wrong and learned in three days, with advises from everyone who rode.  Mosque was attended by bicycles and we cleared a cyclist’s short cut road from our estate.

Six year old Ahmed, last born in a family of thirteen, was always crying and throwing tantrums whenever a car went without him – it was irrelevant to where.  What noise pollution -- wailing non-stop – he could have taken the world’s crying award.  His daddy got him a second hand bicycle and he changed to non-stop cycling from ten in the morning to seven.  A breakthrough; no energy left for him to cry, or if the car left or parked it made no difference. Amazing effect the bicycle had on him. His mummy feels he’s overdoing it, but he has stopped eating all day through and looks healthier.

Overall we have benefitted from the fresh air around us and bonded going out with mum.  Colds and Flu’s are at bay and friendlier environment because of the children playing together.

Bicycling in the Past and Now
by Simeon Trendafilov, age 13

The bike; a human powered machine originated in the early nineteenth century.  But the bike did not show up out of nowhere.  It had years of evolution, just like the human race.  The bike had numerous failures before finally being incorporated into our modern society.  Bikes are still used today all over the world.  People like me might use their bikes to go to school, or to a friend’s house.  Thanks to innovators, like Baron von Drais, who would not give up on the bike, we have the luxury of riding our simple bikes today.

The first bike ever invented, called “the Walking Machine,” by Baron von Drais, had wheels constructed entirely out of wood, and was propelled by pushing your feet on the ground (  To put it in simple terms; “the Walking Machine” was a very primitive bike, but it took the very first step into becoming our modern bike.  Without Baron von Drais, who created this bike, we would not have our modern bike today.

After the Walking Machine came the Velocipede or “the Boneshaker” ( It was just another fad at the time (, like the fads we have with our young population today, such as silly bands.  You could find places to ride this machine in big cities, or if you were part of a wealthy family you could ride this in your big house (  Basically, the Velocipede did not take a major step forward.  It was a minor detour from the Walking Machine.  But nonetheless it made some revisions that ultimately help to achieve our modern bike.

In my opinion it would be an agonizing experience to ride a bicycle during the late 1800’s due to the fact that it was made entirely out of wood and metal, and when combined with the cobblestone roads, you were not in for a pleasant ride – hence, the name “the Boneshaker.”

Next comes a series of bikes with huge front wheels (  The logic of the huge front wheel was to be able to cover maximum ground for one rotation of the pedals (  These large front wheels bikes were experiments.  To me this just shows how lazy people were at the time.  The huge front wheel bike eventually failed as well.  Although this set of bikes were a failure it did let people experiment with the bike and find out where its boundaries and possibilities ended.  This gave people more ideas for a future bike.  Major revisions were made to bikes such as cushioning the tires with rubber so it was not an agonizing experience to ride the bike.  These revisions were very important in making our modern bike.  It the original bike was not revised we would be riding wooden bikes instead of our nice and comfortable bikes right now.

After we take a leap into the 1900’s where we meet the kid’s bike (  The bike was appealing to children because they wanted a more motorcycle type bike, so automobile elements were added to the bike (  The kid’s bike was usually 65 pounds of metal (  Through the 1960’s the bikes became simpler and simpler (  In other words the bike was rapidly revised until it eventually became our modern bike.  Everybody should know our modern bike is a simple machine with two wheels, a chain and usually can change gears.

Thanks to Baron von Drais and all the others who did not give up on the bike we can enjoy our modern bike today.  Their dedication and willingness to not give up on the bike paid off.  Because of them we can use our bike today.  Everybody all over the world should acknowledge and be grateful to the people that helped the bike progress through the generations.

In conclusion, the bicycle has a colorful and exciting history.  Maybe in the future the bike will evolve into something more than it is now, but for now our bike is just perfect.  Let us thank all those people that did not give up on the bike, even when it looked like a hopeless piece of metal.

Annual Student Bicycle Essay Contest



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