McFarland High School today unveiled its new Freiker-based bike-to-school program, making it the first school system in Wisconsin to utilize the technology-enabled program. Short for “FREquent bIKER,” Freiker provides an automated and reliable method for counting rides, tracking results, and distributing incentive awards to students who bike to school. Donated to the McFarland school system by 1 World 2 Wheels—a Trek-sponsored advocacy initiative—Freiker technology not only eliminates the burden of manual ride tabulation, but also creates an atmosphere of friendly competition that encourages students to ride a bike to school instead of drive a car.
“Last year I, along with a group of student bicycle advocates, started an organization called ‘Bicycles Are McFarland’s Future’ in order to promote bicycle usage at the high school,” said McFarland High School English teacher Jeff Kunkle. “Our collaboration with Trek and Freiker will allow us to expand the program and provide further incentive for students to leave their cars at home and bike to school instead. We're grateful to Trek for helping to encourage eco-conscious lifestyle choices among the students of McFarland.”
“We’re extremely proud to support this program,” noted Trek’s 1 World 2 Wheels spokesman, Sam Foos. “It gets kids riding, provides measurable results, and energizes the school community. The program has been extremely successful in other communities, and I know McFarland High School will have similar success.”
Boulder parent and entrepreneur Rob Nagler dreamed up the Freiker program as a way to motivate his kids and their friends to ride to school. Nagler wanted to move beyond volunteer-intensive counting techniques and use technology to make the program more fun and reliable. The Freiker technology consists of the Freikometer (a solar-powered radio frequency identification, or RFID, reader mounted on a post at the school yard), RFID chips attached to each rider’s bike helmet, and the freiker.org website. A rider cruises under the Freikometer, which instantly identifies the student, emits a fun and distinctive bell sound, and then wirelessly uploads data to the Freiker website, where participants can go to track progress towards their riding goals. For every trip McFarland students make to school on bike, foot, or skateboard, they’ll earn points which they can redeem for cycling-related products and accessories from the Trek Stores in Madison. They’ll also become eligible for weekly raffles for Trek “Green Gear,” as well as earn tickets for an end-of-year raffle for larger prizes like a Trek bike or Apple iPod.
Freiker has been operating for the past four years at several schools in Boulder and Longmont, Colorado, with participating students making over 27,000 round trips to school thus far in 2008. In addition to McFarland, Freiker also added a program in Eugene, Oregon this year. Kids, parents, and school administrators all love the Freiker program for the way it makes biking to school both safe and rewarding. Freiker has also earned funding through the national Safe Routes to School program.
About 1 World 2 Wheels:
1 World 2 Wheels is Trek’s commitment to help the world become a more bicycle-friendly place. With the world facing skyrocketing obesity rates, escalating traffic congestion, and the concerns of global climate change, the bicycle is an under utilized solution. Trek, via 1 World 2 Wheels, is taking steps to alleviate the obstacles that prevent people from using bicycles for transportation, as well as recreation.
Freiker, a 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in Boulder, creates healthier, happier children and a cleaner environment by using fun prizes and advanced technology to encourage children to ride their bikes to school. For additional information, visit Freiker at www.freiker.org.