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Westhaven Elementary – Memphis’ Most Bike Friendly School?

IMG_1637IMG_1626Yesterday afternoon, we had the pleasure of watching Revolutions member and Eagle Scout candidate Patrick Fadgen give away 34 bicycles to students at Westhaven Elementary School in Whitehaven. Patrick, with help from his parents, Jane and Danny, has been working at Revolutions since last summer to learn what needed to be done in order to perform safe bike repair.

Patrick collected more than 100 bikes from family members, friends, and church acquaintances, sorted through them in his backyard, and worked to get the bikes in good condition before yesterday’s giveaway. Taking it a step further, Patrick also used this opportunity to enlist the help of his fellow scouts in doing the repairs and trained them in the process of bike repair. Truthfully speaking, Patrick has been running a mini-Revolutions in his backyard for 6 months now!IMG_1636

With help from the Greater Memphis Greenline, Oasis Bike Shop Ministries, and Mrs. Freddie Felt of the Lichterman/Lowenberg Foundation, all the children also received helmets and locks with their bikes.

Revolutions has been working with Westhaven Elementary School since last May when more than 150 students participated in Bike To School Day. With the help of PE teacher, Kyle Kuusisto, Revolutions has supplied the school with enough bicycles and helmets so that students can begin taking part in regular bike safety training as a part of their PE curriculum. Right now, Coach Kuusisto is running weekly walk to school days for the students, but plans to add a weekly bike to school day once he begins bike safety training after the holiday break.

This is the first school in Memphis to take such a proactive approach to improving the health of their students by understanding that the transportation choices parents and students make can be changed through great education, positive reinforcement, and improved infrastructure. To the latter point, Coach Kuusisto and the school principal are working with the city’s bike/ped coordinator to install bike lanes along Hodge Road sometime next year. There will likely be a public hearing about the bike lanes and we’ll keep you updated as this plays an important role in the partnership Revolutions has forged with Westhaven Elementary.

IMG_0577IMG_0570If you see Patrick in the shop, make sure to give him a high-five for a job well done!

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