For most kids, nothing is more exciting than the anticipation and feeling of back to school time. That sense of excitement is even more palpable when the daily trip to the school yard involves pedaling by bicycle through the fresh morning air.
Across the nation, schools are back in session and we have compiled five great tips to get you and your child ready to safely and successfully arrive at school by bike!
1) Bicycle Safety Check
Taking your bicycle to a local certified mechanic for a tune up before your first ride is a good idea. If you’re in a pinch, a quick ABC (Air, Brakes, Chain, Crank, Cassette) bike check is a minimum requirement for a safe ride. It’s also important to make sure all your accessories are in good working order. Check your helmet for any wear or damage and that your lights are either charged up or have good battery life left. Our friends at the League of American Bicyclists offer more Smart Cycling resources in the link below:
Make sure your kids are comfortable on their bikes and have the skills to navigate any traffic that they might encounter on the way to school. An empty parking lot, cul-de-sac or quiet residential street are perfect places to hone safe riding skills. Here are some great tutorials for practicing safe riding skills:
Planning the best route by bike is essential to ensuring a safe and enjoyable ride to school. Try to find the safest route that you can by using the best combination of bike paths, designated bike routes, quiet neighborhood roads or roads with wide bike lanes. Check with your local municipality for the most up to date bike maps or with the school administration to see if they have Safe Routes to School resources or programs:
Pre-packing your backpack will make a smooth start to your morning. Make sure that your child is comfortable and well balanced on the bicycle with a fully loaded backpack. All items should be secure and nothing should be carried by hand because two hands on the handlebar are critical for safe riding. Check to make sure all straps are secure and are clear of the seat, brakes and spokes.
5) Keep your Bike Secure
Your child’s bike will be unattended for the school day so have a plan to secure the bike. Take a trip to the school to see what they offer for bike parking. Make sure you have a lock that will secure at least one wheel and the frame. Leave space in your backpack to carry your lock. Here are some examples of a few different styles of locks that might work:
With these five tips we hope that you and your child are equipped with the tools to have a successful and safe year of biking to school. If you have any tips you would like to share, visit our social media accounts and let us know about your favorite back to school rides - and come ride with us.