Category Archives: bike to school day

DSC09095xs

White Hill Students Learn Through Bicycling

On Friday, May 6th, 270 White Hill seventh graders biked or walked to the Marin Museum of Bicycling in Fairfax for a full day of bicycle math, science, history, engineering, safety, and fun.  Fairfax Mayor Renee Goddard joined students, Safe Routes to Schools Instructors, White Hill teachers, and parent volunteers to cycle down Sir Francis Drake with the Fairfax police escorts.

DSC09097xs

The students learned about the history of bike engineering and innovation, and studied math by learning how bike gear ratios help propel bikes forward.  Two of the museum’s co-founders, Joe Breeze and Otis Guy, mountain bike pioneers and bicycle designer-builders, were on hand. Joe explained how bikes evolved and how the bicycle took society by storm in the 19th century—it was a Freedom Machine then and still is today. Joe also told firsthand stories of early off-road riding here in Marin County, showing the very bikes that launched the mountain bike era.

DSC09122xsOtis Guy showed the students a high-wheeler from the early 1880s. He explained how it worked, then climbed aboard it for a demo ride.  Safe Routes to Schools had an obstacle course for balance and navigating practice, and students enjoyed smoothies pedaled on our bike blender.   Fairfax Cyclery bike mechanics assessed and made gentle adjustments to student bikes and Sustainable Fairfax taught zero-waste habits for packing lunches.   This community endeavor will be a day that White Hill students will remember, where bikes and brains were celebrated.

DSC09027xs

P1070712

For the Love of the Ride

On this National Bike to School Day, look at this example of perseverance and love. The dynamic duo pictured here are a Laurel Dell father, Brian Gleason, and his daughter Ava. For two years now, they have been biking over a mile-and-a-half to school at least three times a week.

Ava says that she started riding to school with her parents when she was only seven years old and was in first grade. Now, biking is part of a normal routine that she follows mostly with Brian since her mother’s bicycle was stolen.

The fact that they are determined doesn’t mean that the logistics are simple for father and daughter. Since the parents separated about a year ago, Brian rides most days by himself from Union Street in San Rafael, where he lives, all the way to H Street, to the mom’s house. From there, they go East and South to Laurel Dell. Brian points out that the roads around Ava’s mom’s house are safer since they are mostly back roads, whereas, when coming from his house there are many people driving too fast.

P1070705However, they wouldn’t give up their ride for anything. “This is an opportunity for my daughter and I to spend quality time together… and it’s fun, huh?” says Brian, looking at his child.  “And I love it when we stop and get ice cream on the way back home,” adds Ava.

While buckling up her helmet and leaving for home in her colorful bike, Ava shares a safety message: “You should always wear your helmet. If you don’t do it, you might hit a fence, get hurt, and end up in the hospital.”