Where Art Meets Advocacy

Where Art Meets Advocacy

We're excited to announce that Caleb of Somerville, Massachusetts, is the 2015 National Poster Contest Winner!

Winning poster for 2015 by Caleb of Somerville, Massachusetts

Every year for the last five years, 5th graders from all across the United States have handcrafted incredible pieces of art that puts their love of the bicycle on display. Based on our experiences in running this contest and from talking with those involved, we've learned that a strong connection to the bicycle early on can transform any bike-yielding individual into one of our best advocates.

This year's 5th Grade Poster Contest theme was #longfortheride, a campaign that blossomed from our own admiration and commitment to cycling in the United States. Riding a bike is not only good for the soul; it benefits the health, wellness, safety and vitality of a community. What better way to display the bicycle's importance than by asking kids to show us what they love about the bicycle?

Past year's winning posters

This fall thousands of 5th graders colored, drew and illustrated what #longfortheride meant to them. Top posters from each of the participating states were then submitted for national voting. The prize? In addition to a new Schwinn bike, bike bell and helmet, the National Winner wins a trip to the 2016 National Bike Summit to take in the nation's sites, rub elbows with representatives and see what the bike summit has to offer. Plus, the National Winner's school receives bike parking for 20 bikes along with The Hub, a web-based system that helps encourage active transportation.

Voting to select the National Winner took place from November 17th – 19th. During that time over 1,500 votes were cast from around the country and selected Caleb's "Start Biking More" poster as the winner. "We're so happy that Caleb's poster is being recognized nationally," said Erin Reed, Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Statewide Coordinator. "Using creativity to express a love for bicycling, Caleb is helping to inspire others in his community to live a more healthy and active lifestyle by safely bicycling to or from school and within his local neighborhood."

"Somerville has a strong biking community, and we encourage our students to take different modes of transportation to get to school and to be more active," said Barbara O'Brien, principal of Dr. Albert F. Argenziano School where Caleb attends. "Because of our strong partnership with the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Program and CycleKids, every year we are able to teach our fifth graders how to bike safely. We are excited that this new bike rack will encourage even more students to choose to bike to school."

"My fifth graders truly enjoyed being part of The Massachusetts Safe Routes to School poster contest," said Caleb's 5th grade art teacher, Diana Tameri. "In Art Class we discussed the benefits of biking, the pros of safe routes for kids to bike on versus areas that are not conducive to biking along with the importance of wearing helmets. Other than the fact that biking is loads of fun, the students brainstormed about the health benefits of biking and how is biking beneficial to the environment."

As for Caleb, he cites inspiration from the show Cosmos for his poster's message "Start Biking More." In addition to his own love of biking, his mom bikes to and from her school in Bedford every day.

We'd like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who helped make this year's 5th Grade Poster Contest happen. From state coordinators to art teachers to parents to enthusiastic 5th graders, we couldn't do this without you. Until next year – get out there and #LongForTheRide.