New residents, tourists and people just driving through Bandera County are taken with all the colorful objects that fill the landscape - green hills, red sunsets and blue bikes.
Older bicycles painted entirely in blue have been placed at various places around the county, causing more than one person to scratch their heads trying to figure why they are there.
Vinny Mifsud, the owner of the local gym Strive 24 in Lakehills, started the Blue Bike project four years ago, and he said he regularly is asked what the bikes are all about.
“The Blue Bike concept was sparked by the increasing inactivity in these community and areas around the U.S.A. This inactivity is directly linked to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, insecurity and anxiety and hurts our kids and adults with extreme consequences” Mifsud said.
His gym came up with a way to reach “the hearts and minds of the community with something that would get them talking.”
Mifsud had some bikes that were donated but didn’t work any longer. The bikes once symbolized how active a child’s or adult’s life was but had gotten old and broken down and were left to rust away, he said.
Mifsud thought he could repurpose the broken bikes and make them a symbol to get the community more active.
He decided to paint them blue, a color representing good health and also the color of the Bandera Independent School District.
He placed them throughout the community with the permission of the property and business owners where the bikes were installed.
Mifsud said the bikes give the illusion that they are being ridden down the road without a rider. He calls it moving art and says the bikes are an encouragement for the community to get active by going for a walk, riding a bike, joining a gym or getting on a workout regimen.
“The Blue Bike project and Strive 24 are teaming up in the new year to challenge everyone to get up, get out and get active!” the gym owner said. “We challenge people to be active for at least 24 minutes every day for all of the 2020 by moving. All you have to do is pick your favorite activity and start moving - walking, riding a bike, lifting weights, the possibilities are all up to you and what you can handle.”
“At our gym, we have seen many people get so excited that they work out at the gym for two or three hours a day or they work out two or even three times daily,” Mifsud said. “That is counterproductive, and, in most cases, people eventually burn out or they get hurt. The secret is to ease into it slowly and develop healthy habits that last the rest of your lives.”
Mifsud said his challenge is free to join.
He said, “Participants must stop by Strive 24 to register and are required to use an activity tracker of their choice. “Second, they need to post their trackers on Facebook by checking into Strive 24 no matter what regimen they are doing and tagging two friends per post and putting one of the following hashtags -#strive24, #bluebikechallange or #stayactive - with how many steps or how many MYZONE points they earned every day for the first 30 days of 2020.”
Those points arise from the MYZONE system at Strive 24 that monitors heart rates, calories burned and time exercising by gym members and converts that data into points that reward effort rather than fitness.
The person with the most check ins and tags will win a one-year membership to Strive 24, Mifsud said.
Strive 24 is located at 8500 FM 1283, Lakehills. Its phone number is 830-476-7620, and its email address is Strive24fs@gmail.com.