Wheeling-in to summer: Tempe’s new Bike Heroes

Season’s heat no obstacle to teens’ pursuit of a passion

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Editor’s note: Every so often, those of us at Wrangler News get an unexpected jolt of genuine neighborhood joy. When it happens, it adds even more justification to our basic premise of publishing: That the traditional focus of newspaper pages all too often misses the happily creative contributions of people who love their community and are eager to share their continuing excitement for the things that bring pleasure to us all. The following seems to amplify that kind of thinking. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Conversation with Steven Gerner

Get ready to shift into high gear now that a winner has been selected for the 2024 Bike Hero award, designed to honor organizations focused on making biking better in Tempe. This year, Tempe recognized two champions of cycling — the McClintock High School Bike Club and Broadmor Elementary’s Bike Bus. According to Tempe Bicycle Action Group’s Steven Gerner, these two pedal-powered dynamos of enthusiasm made what he calls “a massive impact on Tempe’s cycling scene” by helping students thrive on their passion for bike-riding.

Broadmor Bike Bus: Rolling to Success:

This concept takes idea of a school commute to a whole new level, according to Gerner. It involves groups of children biking to school together, led by an adult “bus driver” on a bike—a moving classroom of fun, fitness and friendship, according to the group’s advocates. Parents and kids join the convoy as it rolls by, turning the trek to school into a minibiking festival. Kendra Flory, co-founder of Bike Bus, says her group gets a lot of pride from its members’ involvement. “Seeing the joy and confidence on the kids’ faces as they ride to school is absolutely priceless. The bike bus not only teaches them bike safety and road awareness but gives them a sense of independence and a love for cycling that will last a lifetime.”

Hannah Moulton Belec, the other visionary behind Bike Bus, is likewise thrilled with the event’s continuing popularity. “We started our bike bus two years ago because we wanted to create more demand for better bike infrastructure and demystify biking to school. “Our hope is that kids will be confident and continue safe biking to school on their own or with parents, especially on high-use routes like College Avenue. We also hope that other schools will want to create their own bike-to-school initiatives, and we’re here to help if they do.”

McClintock High School Bike Club: Pedaling to Empowerment

The McClintock High School Bike Club, online at www.mhsbikeclub.org, has quickly become a cornerstone of bicycling in Tempe, according to the group’s organizers. Every Friday, the club transforms into a hub of activity, where students engage in bike maintenance, safety workshops and community service projects repairing bikes for refugees with Welcome to America Project. The participants’ work is not just about bikes, notes Gerner. It’s about building a community by learning hands-on practical skills. Ethan Burns, co-president of Bike Club, agrees:

“Being part of the Bike Club has been awesome. Learning how to fix bikes and understanding how they work has helped me a lot with problem-solving, which is great for my schoolwork. “It’s so cool to build bikes for those in need and even fix my friends’ bikes.”

Connor Clemens, the group’s co-president, highlights what he views as an important mission. “My friends and I have a hard time getting to school safely on bikes. We’ve got potholes, poorly maintained roads and bike lanes that just disappear.

“It’s time we fix our infrastructure so no one has to guess if they’ll arrive at school in one piece. We need safe and reliable routes for everyone.”

Celebrating Our Heroes:

Tempe City Council member Bredetta Hodge applauds these initiatives, “The impact of the Broadmor Elementary Bike Bus and the McClintock High School Bike Club on our community is immeasurable. They are fostering a culture of safety, fitness, and sustainability that will benefit Tempe for generations. These programs are a testament to the power of grassroots initiatives in creating positive change.” As we celebrate these Bike Heroes, let’s remember that every pedal stroke they take is a push towards a brighter, more bike-friendly future.

The Broadmor Bike Bus and the McClintock Bike Club are not just changing the way we commute; they’re changing the way we live. Join us in congratulating these incredible groups and support them as they continue to inspire, educate and lead our community on the road to a healthier, happier Tempe. The Tempe City Council presented these awards at its meeting on June 27. Let’s keep the wheels turning and the spirits high— because in Tempe, life is even better on a bike!



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