Pedal with a purpose and help raise funds for Basalt Middle School

Bike-a-thon will be held May 16-22

Staff report

Forget the bake sales and magazine drives. Basalt Middle School is going a healthier and more adventurous route this year to raise extra funds.

The school will hold a bike-a-thon May 16-22. It will have to be virtual this year because of COVID-19 challenges, but organizers hope it will become an in-person event in the future.

“We fiddled with the idea of just making it a school thing,” said Brook Portman, the parent of a fifth-grader and a member of the Parent Engagement Group, which supports the school through volunteerism, teacher support and fundraising.

But the organizers realized the broader community might want to rally to help. Since there are so many cyclists in the Roaring Fork Valley, the group decided to send out the broader invitation.

Members of the Basalt Middle School Biking Club take time out to pose for a photo.
BMS/courtesy photo

“Biking has been an important part of our school culture for years,” Basalt Middle School Principal Jennifer Ellsperman said in a statement. “Our staff includes many avid bike riders, and we’ve held Bike-to-School days for years. Our after-school mountain bike club with Roaring Fork Cycling is always a popular activity for students, so it seemed like a great fit to continue that trend and serve our fundraising needs as well.”

Anyone ready to hop on a bicycle and pedal between May 16 and May 22 can participate in the fundraiser. Participants can register online at for a 1-, 10- or 25-mile distance on a road, gravel or mountain bike or even a strider or stationary bike. The mileage doesn’t have to be accumulated at once. Riders can choose what trails to ride and what day or days of the week to ride. Portman said she hoped the flexibility would attract lots of people.

The fulfillment of the riding is purely on the honor system. “So basically no excuses,” the registration website said.

Once a participant completes their mileage, they are encouraged to post pictures to Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #Bike4BMS for a chance to win a special prize.

The cost to register is $20 per adult and $10 per child. A family entry is capped at $50. The first 150 people to register receive a swag gift bag and everyone who registers will receive a raffle ticket for a list of prizes that is growing by the day.

Portman said the goal is to raise at least $10,000. The fundraising efforts are important for special efforts to show teacher support or assist in overshadowed areas of programming, she said.

Basalt Middle School used to raise funds through an annual magazine fundraiser. After a two-year hiatus to re-evaluate, the school decided to go a different direction with a health-oriented event. The elementary school presents the annual Turkey Trot and the high school does its Color Run to raise funds.

“With the impacts of the pandemic and having missed holding a school-wide fundraiser for the past two years, every dollar counts to help ensure we can provide the kind of school our students deserve and that our community expects,” Ellsperman said.