Centennial’s Bike Bash Draws Hundreds

By Kathryn White

Hundreds of families and bikes come together for a carnival-style celebration designed to encourage biking to school. Photos by Kathryn White

Hundreds of bikes tore across the field and around the blacktop at Centennial Elementary May 4. Riders donned unicorn- and gargoyle-adorned helmets, and multicolored streamers waved in the breeze from handlebars. Families lined up for pizza, watermelon and ice cream. New bikes went home with raffle-winners.

These kids were pumped.

The carnival-style Better World Day Bike 4 Earth Bash was led by the school’s student leadership team and featured earth-friendly arts and crafts, a bicycling obstacle course, bike maintenance, bike decorating and tours of the school’s five new bike racks. 

Centennial student leaders Nyah and Lillian take a moment away from the festivities to speak with The Denver North Star about planning the Better World Day Bike 4 Earth Bash. Photo by Kathryn White

Nyah and Lillian, members of the school’s student leadership team, said the team met weekly for several months to plan the bike bash. They said riding bikes is better for the earth than driving cars, so they hope more people will now plan to get to school by bike.

Centennial applied for a grant last year from the Denver Public Schools Climate Champions grant program. The school’s proposal focused on increasing the number of students and families biking, using energy-efficient transportation and making changes in their lives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

DPS distributed $225,000 this year in its inaugural round of Climate Champions grants. Funding for the grants came from Denver’s Climate Protection Fund (CPF), which Denver voters created by ballot initiative in 2020.

CPF dollars come from a 0.25% increase in sales and use taxes, now generating approximately $40 million per year. The Denver Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency says it directs funds toward projects that mitigate the causes of climate change, help the city adapt to the impacts of a hotter, drier climate, and build resilience in communities.

Centennial, Denver North High School and Valdez Elementary were selected into the inaugural cohort of 14 schools across the district that received Climate Champions funding for 2023-24. Other grant-funded projects included solar picnic tables, waste diversion activities, service learning, and garden and landscape improvements.

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