Rock The Bike

Smoothie-making bike tested out at elementary schools
Posted on 02/27/2024
Isabella Ellis

Elementary students across the district enjoyed sampling fruit smoothies, many for the first time, but had to burn some calories beforehand in order to help mix the refreshment.

Chartwells introduced its stationary bicycle contraption with an attached blender to purée the ingredients at Eugene Field, Lake Road, Oak Grove and O’Neal in recent weeks – with plans to make additional school visits.

Poplar Bluff R-I was the first of only five districts nationwide to win the modified exercise bike, sponsored by General Mills, through the food service provider’s Rock the Bike promotion designed to help bolster dairy demand in school cafeterias.

“As a participant in the Chartwells smoothie pilot, we’re very excited to announce that your district has been selected as a winner of the Rock the Bike smoothie bike,” Chartwells Director of Wellness and Sustainability Sarah Maver stated in an award letter last year. Branding options were presented for the bicycle to be customized before its delivery in April.

To enter the drawing, Poplar Bluff joined 130 school systems in participating in a smoothie pilot program in 2022, offering smoothies at the Middle School and Junior High with a Waring commercial immersion blender kit supplied. A popular smoothie station was previously installed at the High School.

“It’s kind of a way to get students to try new things, and the kids love it,” reported Dixie Harden, R-I food service director. “I’m sure a lot of kids like yogurt, but may not have had a smoothie, and the National Dairy Council is always looking for ways to increase the consumption of dairy products.”

The pilot was presented to Chartwells by Dairy Management Inc. Chefs and dietitians developed multiple recipe combinations, and the results of the initiative reportedly showed an increase in the consumption of milk and yogurt among students. Smoothies are a part of the reimbursable school breakfast and lunch meals, and provide an on-the-go option that meets the United States Department of Agriculture’s nutrition guidelines.


Cutline: First grader Isabella Ellis takes a turn pedaling a stationary bike in order to operate a blender and mix a smoothie on Tuesday, Jan. 30, at Oak Grove Elementary.

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