Stacks of notebooks, backpacks on display, and pencils waiting to be sharpened can only mean one thing: It’s time to head back to school! Whether you’re 5 or 25, if you’re headed back to the land of learning, it’s time to be sure your bike is ready to roll with you.
Biking or walking to school gives your child (or you!) tremendous health and mental benefits. Childhood obesity is on the rise across the US, and regular physical activity can help protect your child: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 60 minutes of physical activity every day for children and adolescents.
In addition to getting kids active, studies have shown a link between children being active on their way to school and their ability to concentrate once they arrive. Doss Elementary School in Austin has noticed this firsthand: after just a few months of the school’s bike program, teacher Amanda Swann said, “children who walk/ride to school are much better prepared to sit and learn and have gotten those ‘wiggles’ out on that trip to school instead of during school.”
So, time to get everybody ready to roll!
1. Learn how to do the ABC Quick Check before every ride.
2. Make sure everyone in your family has a properly fitted helmet. (PDF download)
- Need to get your kids motivated to wear a helmet? Show them the BikeTexas CATS Safety Bling! video.
3. Get a refresher on the rules of the road with the Texas Bicycle Laws Activity Cards. (PDF download)
4. When’s the last time you changed a flat tire? Find step-by-step instructions here. (PDF download)
Want to plan a Bike/Walk to School Day for your school or community?
International Walk to School Day is October 7! Go to the Texas page on the Walk to School Day site to find an event near you or to register your event. Planning a bike or walk to school day event? Check out the Bike/Walk to School Day chapter in the BikeTexas Event Handbook for tips to make everything run smoothly. Start with the Team Leader Checklist (PDF download) to get you well on your way.
Biking/Walking not a feasible option for your family?
Never fear: You are not forgotten! StreetsBlog LA shared excellent advice from Jim Shanman, the executive director of Walk n Rollers: “Instead of driving all the way to school, try parking 5 blocks away and walking the rest. Spending an extra 10 minutes with your kids and avoiding the drop off crush is an excellent – and rewarding – way to start your day.” Read more of Jim’s suggestions here.
You might also consider joining– or starting– a walking school bus or a bike train in your neighborhood. Parents take turns being the leaders, reducing each person’s overall time commitment– a valuable commodity for busy parents. Learn more: info about walking school buses here and info about bike trains here.
Above all, have a great school year, and happy riding!