Category Archives: bike to school day

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SIGNS OF CHANGE

By Laura Kelly, Safe Routes to Schools

Spring has sprung and vibrant wildflowers are blooming throughout California. Lush green Marin landscapes evoke inspiration and unrestrained enthusiasm in children. A dwindling rain season creates a timely opportunity for Safe Routes to Schools (SR2S) to actively promote more biking as an opportunity for families to enjoy spring’s scenic masterpieces while in route to school.

This month Safe Routes to Schools has been making use of color to gear children up for National Bike to School Day, which is on May 10, 2017. The SR2S program has been collaborating with elementary school green teams, student leadership groups and Girl Scout troops to encourage green travel by making colorful poster board signs. Kids brainstorm on slogans and then paint together in teams of two and three students. The beautiful posters are later mounted around campus on chain-linked fences and school pathways.

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Poster Art is a lesson in the art of using words and color to inspire action. Safe Routes to Schools brings paints, brushes, a tarp and poster boards to a classroom. It’s a marketing example on how to brainstorm in teams in an effort to create catchy phrases. The end result is 8 – 10 poster board signs that when displayed together have an effective grassroots impact.

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”Kids are inspired by bright colors and love to paint,”  said Jennifer Mazzullo Harrison, the Safe Routes to Schools parent representative at Neil Cummins Elementary School in Corte Madera, California. “The poster art session was ​really ​fun and a marketing lesson for our young leaders of tomorrow.  It was great to see the kids come up with their marketing slogans and realize the benefits of coming to school a green way. They were so enthusiastic about sharing their green ways to school stories.”

Some schools laminate the signs as a way to seal and preserve them for when it does rain. Many elementary schools will be hanging their signs after spring break to help build an active transportation community.

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This year elementary school parent leaders for Safe Routes to Schools will be hosting welcome food tables and distributing yellow bike buttons to students who cycle on May 10th in celebration of National Bike to School Day.  Some green teams will be holding and proudly displaying their poster art signs that they mounted to sticks. Schools also encourage kids to decorate their bikes to help make the day a memorable childhood event in Marin County.

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For more information about poster art, please contact Laura Kelly, Marketing and Outreach Manager at Safe Routes to Schools, at laura@marinbike.org

 

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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.

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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.

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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.”