Rider Profile: Christina Fuller-Summey
With schools offering limited or no PE time and an obesity rate of 18.9 % of all US high school students, the focus of physical activity for school aged children in America has been pushed aside. Christina Fuller-Summey is doing great things to eliminate childhood obesity. She started a program called Cycle Kids at the school where she teaches that gets kids off the couch and outside riding their bikes. She’s grown the program from 1 school to a whole school district in just a year. The results are amazing. What parents and Christina are finding are happy kids who want to be active and healthy. We admire the hard work she is doing to teach kids the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Q. We heard you were are a rock star athlete. What do you do to stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle?
A. I don’t know about the rock star part, but I am super competitive and love doing anything that I have the opportunity the beat someone! Being a PE teacher it’s important to me to live what I teach. I try to be a great example for my student and my own children. Cycling is of course my perfected method of exercise. There is nothing like getting on the biking and having a good, hard ride…hills and everything. But with being a teacher, a mother and a soccer coach, I do not always have time in the day to get out on my bike, so every morning I get up at 5:00 am and do a Beachbody OnDemand workout. I call it my “me time”. The house is quiet and cool, everyone is asleep, and I get to work hard and sweat my face off without any distractions! And I have to say, now that I have incorporated strength training into my routine, I have become a much stronger rider as well! As I have gotten older, I realized how much I NEED exercise. It just makes me feel better. And I love to share that passion with my students and staff through Facebook updates, staff workout groups and summer Be Active Logs as well. This summer I did a summer accountability group call the “Summer Sizzle”. I challenged our staff to log 50 workouts over the summer. It kept me motivated all summer and I was thrilled at how many teachers completed the challenge. One teacher emailed me last week to thank me and tell me I had started a “fitness revolution” at our school! That was the best compliment ever!
Q. Tell us what Cycle kids is and how you got involved.
A. Cycle Kids is my passion project. I was inspired by my husband and his passion for cycling. He has brought so many amazing events to the cycling community of Dallas and after watching my son and his buddies eyes light up with excitement while watching the grown-ups race, I decided I wanted to do something like that for kids! I am blessed to have a job that I love. I am constantly trying to find ways to encourage and inspire my students to be physically active. We have had a running program in our district for several years to encourage the kids to run at home on their own time. Every year I was getting the same question, “does riding your bike count”, and when I said no, they would moan. Last year I noticed that the number of students participating was continuously going down. I reflected back on my childhood and remembered how much I disliked running (and still do today)…which is funny considering I spend my childhood and early adult life playing soccer! I also remembered how much I loved riding my bike, and that is when the light bulb went off…Cycle Kids! I could create this program to get kids engaging in physical activity after school as well as put on some fun events for them throughout the year. And that was the birth of Cycle Kids.
We are a non for profit organization whose mission is to get kids outside and on two wheels. Doing our part to help eliminate childhood obesity is something we are very passionate about, and what better way to do that than riding a bike! Not to mention, the family memories this can create along the way! Students are given a log where they record how many miles they ride on their bike. The goal is to ride 100 miles before the end of the school year. All students who complete this 100 Mile Challenge will receive a 100 charm and be put in the drawing for a FREE BIKE! We host community races throughout the year to help promote the Cycle Kids mission and help our students earn those miles! This summer we introduced the Summer 600, the goal is to log 600 min of riding over the summer. The 2015-16 school year was our inaugural year and we are so excited for the future of our program! My husband has been my rock through this entire journey and has graciously shared his passion, experience and contacts to help me get everything up and running. Without him, this would all still be just a dream of mine, not reality.
Q. School is about to start back soon. What are your plans for the Cycle Kids program?
A. Last year was our inaugural year. We rolled out the Cycle Kids 100 Log and the Summer 600 Logs only to students at Lake Highlands Elementary (my school). We hosted 2 major events, a drag race on the Continental Bridge in October, and an obstacle race during the All Out Trinity Festival in March; both were open to any child who wanted to participate. We had amazing feedback not only from our events, but from parents in the LHE community. I heard things like “we have never seen so many kids out on their bikes before” to “my son was so motivated to learn to ride his bike because of this program”. I am a person who wears many hats, and it’s sometimes hard to know what to put my energy and focus into. Because of the amazing feedback from the parents and the smiles from our finishers, I just knew that I was ready to take Cycle Kids to the next level!
We are excited to announce that Cycle Kids will be offered at every RISD elementary school this 2016-17 school year! We are going to start out simple this first year with the Cycle Kids 100 Mileage Logs going out to the students in the middle of September. The schools will ask students to complete the 100 miles, and upon completion they will receive a cycle charm and 100 charm to put on their backpack as well as be entered into the drawing for a free bike in May. We also plan to put on two community events and also offer the Summer 600 Challenge at the end of the school year.
My hope this year is that the love for cycling and physical activity spreads like wildfire so we can continue to grow Cycle Kids and spread the program to neighboring school districts. The challenge now is to find some partners and sponsors so that we can continue to offer this program at no cost to the schools and the events at no cost to the families.
Q. If someone wants to help with Cycle Kids or be a sponsor, how do they do that?
A. If someone is interested in sponsoring they can email me at Christina.firstname.lastname@example.org. We can use monetary donations, to t-shirt sponsors, to bike and bike accessory donations!
Q. Any bike events coming up we should know about?
A. We are working on a Fall “Cycle Kids Kick Off” event in early October. We hope to use this event to get the kids excited and started on their 100 Mileage Logs. For the spring, we hope to again be a part of the All Out Trinity Festival in March where we will put on another obstacle race on the Continental Bridge. Both of our events will be open to the public and will be free, but donations to the program are always welcome. We have a facebook page @CycleKidsDallas and are on Twitter @cyclekidsdallas. Follow us to stay up to date on all the events and happenings in the Cycle Kids World.
A. I know this sounds cheesy but anytime I get to ride with him is so fun and so special! If you know him you know there is never a dull moment. Because of our schedules we don’t get to ride together as much as we would like, so when we do it is always special. We have gone on some amazing rides in some amazing places, but I think our favorite place will always be White Rock Lake. It was the place of our first date, the place where we got engaged, and the place where we like to have “friendly” races around the lake. I will not tell you who usually wins, but remember how I told you I am very competitive!
*photos contributed by Christina Fuller-Summy and Kristie Holt