|Gina Overshiner's bicycle|
Columbia, Missouri's Gina Overshiner is a hands-on mom. And a mom who bikes. When her two kids Max and Anna Rose started attending different local schools Gina opted not to get a mini-van with room for the whole soccer team. Instead, she did what any mid-western mom with a passion for active transportation did: she started a bike brigade.
Every school day, Gina rides with Max to Columbia's Smithton Middle School. On the way to school, Gina and Max stop at Again Street Park. There they pick up any other neighborhood kid who wants to ride. The kids and their parents like the safety that riding as a group offers (Ask a generally solitary rider about the power of riding with one, ten or a hundred other bicyclists. It changes things.) After navigating west-central Columbia's mix of local roads and a state highway, a regional commercial hub and the ubiquitous hills, Gina and her Smithton Bike Brigade arrive at school.
"The Smithton Bike Brigade offers an opportunity for social engagement around bike activities," says Gina. "I am always thinking about new ways to get more kids involved. Besides being a social activity with a workout attached the Brigade fosters community and encourages social activism among these students."
|Bike/Ped Day at the Capitol, 2011|
|Columbia, Missouri's Smithton Bike Brigade|
And after Gina gets done riding Max and his fellow members of the Bike Brigade to Smithton, Gina turns around and rides home, picks up AnnaRose on her bike and accompanies her to school in the other direction.