The annual Grantsville bike hike is a 45-year tradition. 2022 was the last year the bike hike headed to Deseret Peak. In 2023 the bike hike will head to the new splash pad at Hollywood Park in Grantsville.
When the bike hike started, students rode their bikes to the Benson Gristmill for a barbeque and games.
“I can’t imagine riding on that highway now,” Jodi Petersen, a fifth-grade teacher at Grantsville Elementary for 19-years said, speaking about state Route 138.
When the Stansbury pool opened, students rode from Grantsville to the clubhouse to swim.
Then, over 15 years ago, the bike hike destination moved to Tooele County’s Deseret Peak Complex, which is closer to both Grantsville Elementary School and Willow Elementary.
The change allowed the students more time to swim and eat lunch before heading back to their school.
The bike hike is the highlight of the fifth-grade students’ school year.
“The first question on the first day of school is, when is the bike hike?” Petersen laughed. “It’s just all year long. When’s the bike hike? In the middle of a math lesson, when’s the bike hike?”
“Kids actually buy bikes just to go on the bike hike,” said Angie Berry, also a fifth-grade teacher at Grantsville Elementary. “It’s that big of a tradition.”
Some parents have even made a point to present their child with a bike for Christmas during their fifth-grade year.
“It’s just been a tradition forever,” Berry said. “All of the kids just know when you get to fifth grade you go on a bike hike.”
Over the years, over 5,000 children have been on the bike hike and throughout all the years, it has only been totally canceled once, because of the pandemic.
This year, the bike hike was held on May 24. It was the last year that the students will travel to Deseret Peak.
Next year, they will travel to Grantsville’s new splash pad, because it’s getting too hard for police to shut down all of the roads while the kids ride through to Deseret Peak.
“We don’t know what it will look like going to the splash pad next year,” Berry said. “We always take time to put the kids first and make sure it’s an amazing day for them, so we will do the same things at the splash pad.”
“We know it’s going to be a change,” Murphy said.
Some teachers shared some memories from 45 years of bike hikes.
“During the 19 years I’ve been here, we’ve only had it rain once,” Petersen remembered. “That was a fun year and that was the year that we thought we needed to tag each child’s bike, so we knew which was from our school and which was from Willow. That helped a lot to help us load bikes onto trailers to get them back to the schools. Our principal was also nice enough to get buses to bus our students back that year. It was raining so hard.”
“All of the kids come back with a smile on their face. They may be sunburned but they are all smiling,” Berry said. “This year, there were some parents who donated a bike to students who didn’t have one this year, so those students were able to get a bike and actually keep it. That was like Christmas all in one day for them.”
“Overall, for me, the best memory is watching how much fun the kids have. They love it so much,” Murphy said.
Grantsville Mayor Neil Critchlow, remembers helping with the bike hike one year.
“My daughter when she was in fifth grade, I went with her on the bike hike,” he said. “I had a backpack with me with a length of rope in it. I thought if I found a kid that was getting a little tired, I would just hook onto their bike and pull them for a minute until they get their second wind. So, I found one kid and hooked up to them and then I found another kid who was struggling, so we hooked their bike to it as well. When I was done, I had five bikes hooked to mine and it was getting harder and harder to do this. I turned around and those kids all had their feet up on their handlebars. They weren’t even trying to peddle!”
The teachers want to thank the parent volunteers, Grantsville Police and Fire Department, Walmart Distribution Center, Justin Wingfield, and school administrators.
“If we didn’t have that community support, there’s no way we could do this,” Murphy said.