There are a lot of events and specialty days and months dedicated to getting people on their bikes. Back in May, we talked about Bike-to-Work Day/Week/Month, and just a couple of weeks ago, International Car-Free Day/Week. But today is International Walk/Bike to School Day, which is actually part of a larger movement (pun intended) to make the entire month of October Walk/Bike to School Month.
In over 40 countries, from Argentina to Iceland to New Zealand, and even Cuba, elementary and middle schools are encouraging their students to walk or bike to school. In the U.S., you can click here to find events in your area, and you can find international events here . And if it’s too far, or the area is too unsafe, these websites have some great suggestions for how you, your kids, and their school can still be involved.
Ride or Walk with your Kids
One of the best way to get kids active is to set an example – if they see you out there getting exercise on a daily basis (or even better, exercising with them), they will see physical activity as part of a normal, healthy lifestyle. As childhood obesity rates in the U.S. have doubled over the past 20 years, getting kids active, and seeing physical activity as a normal part of life, is more important than it has ever been. And while Walk/Bike to School Day is only one day, it could be the start of something big.
Besides getting kids up and moving, walking or biking to school is a good way to get kids thinking about the environment, and how they can be involved in living green. Since kids don’t get to make a lot of choices about these bigger picture sorts of thing, letting them walk or ride to school lets them feel like they are making a difference – and perhaps equally as important, they are making a difference.
If you’d like your kids to bike to school every day, or even better – if they want to – but you can’t always ride with them, try organizing a neighbourhood bike-pool, where each day, instead of driving, a different parent or two chaperones kids to school on their bikes. And as they get older, they’ll be used to riding to school, or just to get around in general.
Perhaps most importantly, by getting kids into walking and riding places, you’ll be laying the foundation for the next generation of advocates. People who don’t walk or ride don’t see the need for bike infrastructure or legislation to protect cyclists and pedestrians. By making kids aware of cycling and walking as real transportation alternatives at a young age, the people who will be making decisions about whether to allocate tax dollars to bike lanes or highways will have a real appreciation for the value of walking and biking.
You Don’t have to be a Kid to Ride to School
While the special event today is geared for kids – getting them active and more involved in their communities – it’s also a good opportunity for anyone to ride to school (or work…). If you’re in college, a bike can be one of the best ways to get around campus, especially if you’ve only got a short time to make it from one side of campus to the other. And with a Montague folding bike, you don’t have to worry about leaving your bike locked outside or trying to cram it into your dorm room – Montague bikes fold quickly and easily, so the in the closet, under the bed, or next to the desk are all excellent storage options.
Did your Kids Walk or Ride Today?
With so many events taking place across the U.S. and internationally, did your kids have a chance to walk or ride to school? Is it something they do every day, or at least do more than once/year? If not, what are some steps you can take to make this possible?