TC Bike Life is a story series featuring ordinary people doing ordinary things on their bicycles in Traverse City.
As we get ready to go all in for our Safe Routes To School programs this spring, guest writer, Mary Mantei, caught up with Mason Cox, a Bike Champion at Eastern Elementary to tell his story.
Mason Cox: Shaping TC Bike Life
By Mary Mantei
Recently, Matt McFarland, editor of Innovations wrote an article in the Washington Post about St. Hans School in Odense Denmark, where eighty percent of the students walk, skateboard, or bike to school year round.
Mason Cox, a 3rd grade student, at Eastern Elementary would fit right in. This school year, Mason has ridden his bike to school all but 6 days! [ed. note: 1 of those days was because his Halloween costume wasn’t bike-friendly ;)] Yup, just like the postman; through wind, rain, sleet and snow. And let’s not forget the many beautiful northern Michigan days as well.
Mason’s round trip each day between his home and Eastern Elementary is just over a mile and a half. His motivation is pretty simple; he likes to ride bikes. And, it’s really fun! Pedaling to school also helps him to “get some energy out of his body” and the fresh air wakes him up. There is also the benefit of getting home faster after school because there’s no waiting for cars or buses to move through the busy school parking lot.
The biggest challenge thus far? Ice and snow! Mason is learning how to manage those elements. Wider turns and laying more tread on the ground have kept Mason upright. Sometimes unplowed streets make Mason’s ride harder, but it hasn’t kept him from his goal of biking to school throughout the school year.
Mason sees himself getting stronger every time he rides. He’s also very aware of how you have to be careful with traffic. It is a big part of biking safely. Mason surprises his schoolmates on really wild weather days. “You seriously biked today?” is a common reaction. To other kids who might be interested, Mason’s advice would be simple, “It’s really fun and you should try it out sometime.”
When Mason isn’t biking he loves to be outside skiing, swimming, or playing just about any game that involves a ball. He did a triathlon last year. When I asked Mason what future plans he had for fun activities, his quickly answered, “More biking.”
Mason is part of the TC Bike Life evolution in our community. He may be leading the way to changing the school transportation culture and creating the next Odense, Denmark, right here in Traverse City.
TC Bike Life is a story series featuring ordinary people doing ordinary things on their bicycles in Traverse City aims to create awareness for the growing presence of people on bicycles in Traverse City, one story at a time.
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