We’re excited to crown Lily of Starkville, Mississippi as our 2014 National Poster Contest winner!
Roughly 900 Facebook fans from around the country helped Saris Cycling Group choose the winner for the 4th annual National Poster Contest. As the National Winner, Lily will be flown to Washington D.C. for the 2015 National Bike Summit where she will will have the opportunity to address other attendees, meet with state legislators, and take in the sites of the nation’s capital. Her school will receive bike parking for 20 bikes and The Hub, a Saris program created to encourage bike commuting.
Mississippi’s state coordinator, Lindsey Netherland, had this to say about the news: “We were extremely excited to hear that Lily Adams from Starkville won the 2014 SARIS Bike Poster Contest. It’s thrilling to see students and communities so engaged and inspired by the contest. It’s because of their tremendous support that really helped win this contest for two consecutive years. Lily’s artwork is just another great representation of the level of creative talent we have in Mississippi. We would like to thank Saris for partnering with MDOT to give our 5th grade students an opportunity to show their creativity and artistic ability while promoting the healthy benefits of riding a bike.”
We’d like to say thank you to everyone who cast their vote for the Saris Poster Contest. Also a huge thanks to all the 5th graders who shared their art and love of cycling with the nation.
This week kicks off voting for the 4th Annual Fifth Grade Saris Poster Contest winner over on our Facebook page. There you’ll be able to see 24 state winning posters from 5th graders, all inspired by John F. Kennedy’s quote “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.” And let me tell you, these posters are nothing short of impressive.
Over the last couple of months, 5th graders have crayoned, water-colored, and color-penciled their visions onto paper. Participating state coordinators then mailed in their winning poster, and we then open voting to anyone with a Facebook account. When the voting is done the National Winner is announced, and we start planning their trip with us to Washington D.C. for the 2015 National Bike Summit.
Here’s the catch: this is so much more than a contest with a cool prize. Allow me to explain.
Have you ever gone to Capitol Hill and met with your local representative and have a discussion about an issue that is important to you and your community? It’s not easy. Securing a meeting with a representative can sometimes feel as difficult as finding the illusive Golden Ticket in a Wonkabar. Often times the closest anyone gets is a meeting with the representative’s aid.
Not if you’re a 5th grader. In our last three trips to the National Bike Summit, our National Winner has twice meet with their local representative—not an aid, the actual rep themselves.
May (2011 Winner) with Congressman James Lankford of Texas at the 2012 National Bike Summit.
Isabel (2012 Winner) with Congressman Steve King of Iowa at the 2013 National Bike Summit.
Over the years we’ve learned that the biggest benefit of our poster contest is the personal connection forged between the National Winner and their representative. Additionally, our poster contest starts many-a-conversation about biking between art teachers and their students, teachers and administrators, students to parents and all the combinations in between. And action often stems first from a conversation.
In short, our experiences have shown that even the youngest voice can climb the hills of the capitol and instigate change for their community. Now it’s up to you to help send the next young advocate to D.C.
On the past couple of days, I’ve seen a number of really excellent news pieces talking about the protection of bicyclists. This piece, by the New York Times, called “Gadgets to Boost Bike Safety”, includes a list of accessories that can be added to one’s bike to provide additional safety features. The gadgets focus on making the bikes more noticeable (loud bike horn and bike lights) to added protection (the inflatable helmet) to helping define the rider’s space (XFire Bike Lane Light). All these products work to make the rider feel safer and more in control of their environment.
Next month, the National Bike Summit will take place in Washington D.C. For two and a half days, over 700 ”bike people” will descend upon our nation’s capital and will join together to celebrate all we’ve done to increase the number of cyclists around our country. We will strategize about the current challenges we are facing, and we will meet with our elected officials to ask for additional policy support to make it easier to create safe places to ride.
This is the big league, and our nation’s leaders who have “been there, done that” will spread their knowledge and share their battle wounds. It’s an impressive feat to see the large room of advocates, retail dealers, the bike industry and local officials working together to achieve a common goal—the bright colored bike pins show our unity and give a sense of whim and delight to our message. But, overall, this is where the serious business gets done.