Marin Countyâ€™s Safe Routes to Schools program celebrated the 5th anniversary of National Bike to School Day at 40 K-12 schools on Wednesday morning, May 10th. With recent climate and science-related marches, one might surmise that families were pedaling away the carbon and pollution to address climate change and childrenâ€™s health. But, the real reason children ride is simple â€“ itâ€™s fun!Â Â Yes, Bike to School Day was an opportunity to lighten our load and reduce our footprint.Â Yet it was so much more; it gave families a chance to shed away stress, to play while traveling to school through the simple joy of riding a bike.
Thankfully, the weather shifted gears in time for a growing number of students to join in the cycling celebration at schools throughout Marin, including some newly participating high schools.
â€śIt was a huge success,â€ť reported Amelia Muir from Tam High Leadership which welcomed their active commuters with muffins, fruit, juice and coffee. Drake, San Rafael and Redwood High Schoolâ€™s environmental clubs also served breakfast and enticed students with raffles prizes for their participation. Redwood High School heavily publicized the event by placing notifications on every bike at school the day before.Â Redwood parent volunteer, Frances Barbour, who helped students bake muffins, reported â€śthat was brilliant, with almost full participation.â€ťÂ Another parent said that her daughter felt that â€śit was a nice way to start the day playing [transportation related] trivia games for a muffin!!â€ť She added, â€śIt seems you raised school spirit along with promoting the cause.â€ť
Bike Trains led by principals and parents amassed the streets and pathways. Our extensive volunteer parents welcomed students at every school with colorful bike pins and treats to celebrate the community of cyclists.
Families gathered at the Depot in Mill Valley to form a bike train of over 100 students pedaling to Old Mill School.Â Mill Valleyâ€™s Vice Mayor, Stephanie Moulton-Peters, joined her community again this year. She has participated in walk and roll events since SR2S started at Old Mill in 2003.Â Parent organizers, Tracy and Scott Lee, rallied the local PD to provide a motorized police escort.Â Â A local favorite, Ryan Loften, Camp Director of Mt. Tam Bikes Camp, led the procession.
“National bike to school day is something that resonates with me as both a parent and a Mill Valley resident where we have a unique ability to ride our bikes to school,â€ť Tracy remarked.Â â€śI wanted to lead this initiative to raise awareness in our community about the pleasure of riding to school together. I was very pleased with the turnout. We had about 115 kids which is a good chunk of the student body.Â All in all it was a high-energy, organized, well-subscribed and safe event that helped promote the basic concept of getting out on your bike and experiencing all that Mill Valley has the offer to and from school.”
â€śReed School totally rocked it!â€ť according to organizer Angela McInerney. Â â€śOn average, there are about five to eight bicycles in the bike rack. Â Today, the kids â€śbroke” the rack! Â The racks were completely full and kids had to line up their bikes along the fence!â€ť Â At Bel Aire there were around 110 bikes. Residents of Greenwood Beach road were out cheering the kids on.
Bike to School Day is a chance for fair weather riders to gear up for cycling with experienced friends, neighbors, brothers and sisters. A bike train and a ride marked with celebratory fun can set in motion a healthy habit for life.Â As proof, one parent reported her first grader asked to ride again with her Dad the very next day.
The long term goal of Safe Routes to Schools is to switch students from going to school by car to an active mode of transportation which wakes up the brain for learning and contributes to an active lifestyle long-term.