Back to School, Bike to School: Resources and Tips

Several counties across Metro Atlanta have already started back to school.  So long, summer days of fun.

But just because the wee ones are back in school, doesn’t mean your summer bike riding is over.  Here’s some helpful tips on how to encourage kids to bike to school.

1. Plan your route. The most direct route to where you’re going might not always be the safest or most bike-friendly commute.  Try researching your route on Google Maps using the bike option.  Another good resource is Ride the City; it even lists bike shops along the way.  Or, check out this bike suitability map from Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.

2. Test ride the route. It’s always a good idea to spend an afternoon or a weekend test riding the route.  That way, you can be sure of any problem areas or areas you might feel uncomfortable and make proper adjustments.  This is especially helpful for teaching kids to ride to school.  Knowing the route will boost their confidence.

3. Nervous? Don’t go it alone.  Getting a neighborhood group to ride together (think of it as a ride pool) can be a great idea, especially for those new to the concept.  It’s a great way to meet people in the area and at your school.  Plus, there’s always safety in numbers.

4. Be the example. Kids learn in a lot of different ways, but one of those ways is by example.  If you already commute to work by bike, take a longer route so that you can incorporate your child’s school route and they can ride alongside you.  We highly recommend riding with children 12 or under!

5. There’s plenty of resources out there. Check out these helpful sites for more information:

Safe Routes to School

Walk Bike to School

Walk Bike Schools–Although this is Seattle-based, there’s lots of resources on how to get a program started