It’s about that time! If your lil’ shredder is going back to class this fall, make sure they’re ready to go by bike. We’ve whipped up a few tips and some gear to get ‘em rolling safely.
Some of the biggest school districts in the United States have announced plans to keep learning online. However, hundreds of thousands of kids will be getting back into the classroom over the next few weeks. Many will face a very different learning experience from what they’re used to, including much less active physical education classes as just one of many changes. To keep moving, and to instill a sense of responsibility and independence, get those kids pedaling to school!
Parents get worried when it comes to letting their kid ride alone, but you can do a lot to prepare them to commute safely. From the bike to the route, now is the time to get ready.
There are many benefits to riding to school, including improved focus, better health, and reduced traffic congestion, and more.
One of the first things to do is run through your child’s bike and make sure they can give their own bike a quick safety check, too. Having them feel comfortable putting the chain back on, pumping up the tires, and making sure the brakes work and gears shift helps them get comfortable with the basic mechanics of cycling. To keep your sanity, show your child how to hang up their bike on their own, or tape off a square for them to park their bike if it has a kickstand.
Second, make sure your kid has front and rear lights, plus a dedicated place to charge those lights. Visibility matters, and you can also add reflective tape to their bikes and even on the helmet, too. Many backpacks have reflective materials, and it’s also a good idea to check that backpack for long straps that could get caught in the chain or spokes. While you’re doing that, ensure your child’s helmet fits comfortably and securely. They can grow so much in just a few months!
Once you’ve checked all the boxes in the garage, it’s time to hit the road. Ride a fixed route to school and help your child identify what makes that route safe. Pick out specific landmarks they can use to mark their projects such as parks, crosswalks, or friends’ homes. Make sure they can ride the route safely, and if you’re worried, you can always ride with them the first couple of days. If that’s tough, reach out to neighbors and encourage kids to meet up and ride to school together.
If you’re interested in having your kid ride to school for the first time this fall, reach out to the school to learn more about any cycling organizations in your community that might have resources or programs to make it safe and exciting.