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Oklahoma Sports and Fitness September/October 2015 : Page 38

SPOTLIGHT Generous Tulsans, Bicycles Help Tulsa Students By Andy Wheeler Benefits of the Bike Club · Hyperactive children show increased control once on their bikes · New riders show improved communication and teamwork skills · School attendance was up for Bike Club participants · Provides positive after school outlet for those who live in nearby shelters · Program helps students feel good about themselves · Provides mentoring opportunities for volunteers · Bicycle racks full after years of being empty One evening during an Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG) Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Mike Wozniak shared a dream. Wozniak, a BPAC member and Soundpony Lounge co-owner, introduced his vision for a bike park near Emerson Elementary. From there, Jane Ziegler, BPAC chairperson, brought Woznaik and Gary Percefull, a member of BPAC and Tulsa School Board, together. Percefull told Wozniak, "We may not have a bike park yet, but why don't we start a bike club over there immediately?" As one who loves cycling, Wozniak felt he could fill a need as a volunteer. “Bicycles are important for a city's infrastructure,” Wozniak said. “And the public school system is equally as important for a city." Wozniak connected with Jason Wharton of Humble Sons Bike Company. Formerly, "Bikes for Tykes of Tulsa," they are a local organization whose mission is to provide bicycles to kids who need them. This year, alongside the effort of the Bike Club, they plan on giving away 1,400 bikes. "Our first Bike Club at Emerson Elementary was wel -comed with open arms from Principal Tammy States and school counselor, Heidi Mayer,” Wozniak said. “Their faith in us and support was invaluable. We love Emerson and they love us." Emerson Bike Club will have five new clubs joining on September 22. Each school will be associated with a volun-teer cycling group: Emerson Elementary (Team Soundpony), Cooper Elementary (Tulsa Bicycle Club), Jackson Elemen-tary (All Souls Unitarian), Lee Elementary (Team Tom's and Team Air Assurance), Remington Elementary (Team Crude), and Robertson Elementary (Team 36P). With six clubs this year, the group estimates that they will put over 120 children on bicycles for 7,200 hours of instruction and bicycle safety combined. This small group of thoughtful, committed cyclists is indeed having a positive impact on the world around them, one child at a time. "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead 38 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2015 | OKSPORTSANDFITNESS.COM PHOTOS COURTESY T.J. GERLACH / TULSA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

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