There are huge benefits to walking, scooting or cycling to school.
It is healthy
Children arrive at school engaged and ready to learn
It is sociable and can be done with friends
It helps in tackling obesity
It helps the environment
Reduced congestion (especially around the school)
It's what children want
Here are quick tips on removing some of the most common barriers to a safer, more active and sustainable school run:
GETTING TO SCHOOL:
I live too far away:
Park & stride, car sharing, drop off at a friend's house, walk and cycle for leisure
I don't want my child to travel alone:
Walking bus, buddying with friends
The roads are too busy:
Route maps, campaign, DIY streets, talk to the council
My bike is broken:
Get in touch. If we are actively engaged with your child's school we can arrange either a Dr Bike or a bike mech session
I don’t know what bike to buy:
Child bikes can be heavy, with too many gears and poorly made. Check out our buying a bike guide.
Brands like Islabikes and Frog Bikes produce quality bikes that hold their value. You may pay more, but you will be able to sell the bike for close to the rrp.
BMX bikes are great for messing around on, but less good for long rides due to their low saddle height. Avoid plastic wheels, which flex and buckle, and cannot be adjusted. Look for quality brands like Haro, WeThePeople, GT or Saracen.
Fatter mountain bike tyres are slightly slower on pavements and roads, but are great for off-road cut-throughs.
Ask your school to organise a bike & swap day. Bikes can be swapped between parents to find on the right height or type for your child with mechanical assistance on hand.
I can't ride a bike or I lack confidence = get training:
Bikeability training teachers the skills needed to feel confident on a bike starting from where you are.
Locally there may be funding to support training: this could be confidence training for you or your child.
Locally delivered courses:
I can’t get my child cycling:
Local cycle trainers can support you (see above). A different face removes some of the pressure of expectation
Learn in a group - request a school session or get friends together
Personalise the bike - some stickers, a basket, tassles or a superhero helmet garners enthusiasm
Get someone else to try - a different person doing the same things may make the difference
Use hard, flat surfaces or even a slight downhill with pumped up tyres to make the bike easy to pedal
Practice sitting on a bike: flap arms, beat chest, wiggle bum, stamp feet, both feet in air
A bike that is too small is very hard to pedal so not great to learn on; similarly, one that is too big can be equally challenging
Balance bikes are a great first step
Scooters can also help develop balance and require keeping body straight