I Challenge Myself
I Challenge Myself’s mission is to encourage and support NYC public high school students to embrace challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, to develop healthy lifestyles and prepare for college and the workforce. To accomplish its mission, I Challenge Myself has developed the Cycling Smarts and the Summer College Bike Tour programs. These programs use physical fitness challenges that allow high school students in high-poverty schools to (1) experience personal and group success; (2) increase physical fitness and endurance; (3) improve dietary habits; and (4) improve their ability to persevere.
Cycling Smarts provides opportunities for high school students to increase their physical activity and fitness levels through long-distance cycling, cross training, goal setting, and nutritional education. Cycling Smarts is offered as an elective physical education course at our 4 participating public high schools in the Lower East Side, Washington Heights, and the South Bronx. During warm months, the class rides on weekends throughout the city, preparing for the annual 100-mile I Challenge Myself Century Ride that is the only century ride offered for youth in the country.
College Summer Bike Tour is a 2-week summer program structured in two parts: (1) A 5-day preparation session in NYC consisting of training rides and education about the college admissions process; and (2) a 7-day, 7-college bike tour throughout New York State. 12 students ride 50 miles a day, visiting 7 different colleges' to meet with their admissions offices, meet students, explore different majors, and stay in their dorms.
From evaluations students have reported significant improvement across a wide range of areas: greater physical fitness, the ability to push themselves more, nutritional knowledge and dietary habits, heightened respect for other people and a better ability to focus in class. These changes are noted and commented upon by their Cycling Smarts coaches as well.