By Jennifer Ann Gordon
Loretta Moore pours her heart and soul into her job as the Program Coordinator for the City of Davis’s “Street Smarts/Safe Routes to School” program. Moore is a certified League Cycling Instructor (LCI); the LCI’s role is to help people feel more secure about getting on a bike, to create the mindset that bikes should be treated as vehicles, and to make sure that people know how to ride their bikes safely and legally. Her programs are creative, integrative and collaborative. City of Davis Art Director Rachel Hartsough contributes greatly to the success of the program. “Rachel is a joy to work with,” said Moore. “It’s really fun to develop new ideas with her, along with my fabulous UCD intern Amber Medina. We are so lucky to have access to talented students who are passionate and bring their skill and creativity to the program.”
British Columbia, Sweden, Togo…Davis
Growing up in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, British Columbia, Moore always had a bicycle. Her favorite was a purple banana-seat bike that, incidentally, her dad ran over twice with his pickup truck—mainly because she usually left her bike in front of his truck. Then she took up mountain biking. She loved the downhill rush of fast, technical riding. Her 12th grade class trip was a 450 kilometer road ride from Jasper to Lake Louise and onto Radium Hot Springs.
After many years of data processing on seismic exploration ships offshore in Togo, Brazil, China, Russia and Sweden, Moore is glad to be moored in Davis. She and parent volunteers hold Bike Rodeos for each school on their blacktop, with events centered on bike safety, bicycle maintenance, and traffic skills. Moore also works closely with Jennifer Donofrio’s Bike PED on the Bike Rodeos, Light Up the Night (encourages and distributes bike lights), and other events.
Here in Davis, Moore commutes to work most days. Her family of four—husband Jason Wingo and sons Mile (14) and Nolan (10)—has a truck and 11 bicycles. “Most kids are thrown in a car and passengered around,” Moore said. “Cycling or walking to school gives your child travel independence—navigating, being more aware of surroundings, even using public transportation, and understanding maps—which ends up helping them a lot when they leave home; navigating their way in new places isn’t as stressful.”
Moore also coordinates the “active4.me” opt-in barcode scanning program, developed by Davisite Tim Starbuck, for kindergarteners through sixth graders, and implemented by Volunteer Champions at each school site. Each child has a barcode tag that a Champion scans when the student arrives at school. The parents then receive a text or email confirming their child arrived safely. Kids that participate in the scanning program also get prizes for their efforts. Additionally, Moore is hoping to implement a student-run active4.me program for junior high and high school students.
May 9 marked Bike to School Day, created by Moore, with prizes awarded to the school with the most students scanned. The winner was Willett Elementary; and the prize was a Fat Face popsicle party, with Fat Face providing their cool confections at cost.
Also on Bike to School Day, the Golden Wheel trophy was awarded to Patwin Elementary, who had 66% of their student body either cycle or ride scooters to school, and to Holmes Junior High with 49% of their students cycling or scooting. Fairfield Elementary, 4 miles outside of Davis, received an ice cream party for the longest bicycle train; out of 42 students total, 36 of the k-3rd graders (and their parents) rode the 4 miles to school.
Books Boasting Bicycles…A Great Aliteration
Books On Bikes, another of Davis’s Street Smarts/Safe Routes to School programs, has donated approximately 400 books about bicycling to the Davis and Woodland libraries. “People are bombarded with images of cars, not bikes, in books,” said Moore, “and we want to change that.” Moore’s top picks? “Green Bicycle” by Haifaa al Mansour; “Cycle City” by Alison Farrell; and “The Bicycle Spy” by Yona Zeldis McDonough.
Loopalooza Is a Lollapalooza
Yes, Loretta Moore has been busy. With the Bike Davis advocacy group, Davis’s Street Smarts/Safe Routes to School hosted “Loopalooza,” an annual 12-mile bike ride around Davis that connects the community’s schools. This year’s Loopalooza took place on Sunday, May 6. The participants—from toddlers to grandparents and everyone in between—received a passport, and could start at any point along the route and go in either direction. Their passport got stamped at each of the nine different stations or schools. For every 3 stamps, the rider received a healthy snack. UC Davis’s design students created the passports and marketing materials. The purpose of Loopalooza was to paint a picture of a healthy, integrated lifestyle—school, home, bicycling paths, community, fun.
32 Polar Bears So Far
One of Moore’s most popular events is the Polar Pedal, which takes place in February. Every time a child walks, cycles or rides their scooter to school and gets scanned, they earn points toward adopting a polar bear via Polar Bears International. In 2017, the children adopted 14 polar bears; in 2018, they adopted 18 polar bears. “Cycling and scooting to adopt a polar bear helps reduce our carbon footprint, which then helps save the polar bears’ habitat…a win-win,” said Moore.
Davis Police Department’s Bike Train
Even the Davis Police Department’s Officers John Evans and Mike Yu are in on the fun. Bike a Kid to School began in the 2016-17 school year and Moore hopes to develop the event further. The officers lead a bike train to school. “This helps the police better understand what kids encounter,” said Moore. Parents join in, too. Her advice: “Get out there and feel how great it is; you get to talk with your kid!”
And this is just the tip of the bicycle-burg! Street Smarts/Safe Routes to School is made possible by a one-time $500k grant from CalTrans. Check out City of Davis’s Street Smarts/Safe Routes to School online for more information.
“We’re so fortunate to live in Davis, a community designed for people to bike to school. It’s a great opportunity. There’s no better place to live! Biking to school is so easy. If you can’t bike to school, you can park two blocks from school and walk. The point is to drive a little less and, by doing so, keep the roads safer for our kids.”