“I finally have my very own bike!” said a student as she excitedly pedalled around on her new bike.

On Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 24 students in grades 5 to 7 from the Muskoka area were invited to attend BikeFest 2014 at Buckwallow Cycling Centre in Gravenhurst. BikeFest is an opportunity for students who come from lower income families to develop skills, knowledge, and attitudes that will hopefully inspire them to live a healthy active lifestyle, beyond school – and thanks to the Canadian Tire Jump Start program, they receive a brand new bike too!

Throughout the day, students learned how to maintain their new bikes, developed new trail and road biking skills, and participated in a Bike Scavenger Hunt organized by Spruce Hill Adventure School. They also listened to a presentation by Sochi Paralympic bronze medalist and TLDSB graduate, Graeme Murray, who spoke to students about the importance of goal setting and creating realistic and attainable goals (SMART Goals). He shared with students that when he first lost the use of his legs when he was a young boy, his mother told him that “even though Muskoka isn’t accessible, it’s not going to hold you back.” With this encouragement, Graeme pushed himself to achieve his goals and was determined to never give up. He shared how he is most proud of the effort he put into achieving his sledge hockey medals, and encouraged each student to set a SMART goal and be proud of their accomplishments, win or lose.

BikeFest was organized by Healthy Active Living Consultant, Dave Lyons and supports healthy active living and equity and inclusion initiatives in Trillium Lakelands District School Board.