It’s the start of the new school year, and what better time to make a positive change? Cycling to school offers a whole host of great benefits – not only will it save you money on transport costs, but it will also help your little ones get fit and healthy.
If you’re interested in making the switch to a cycle commute, we’ve put together some top tips – as well as listing some more of the benefits, in case you’re not yet convinced!
Benefits of cycling to school
– Experts say that children need at least one hour of physical exercise every day to stay fit and healthy, but most don’t get anywhere near that. Cycling to school is an easy way to incorporate more physical activity into your child’s day – even just cycling for 15 minutes can make a huge difference.
– Incorporating exercise into your child’s life from an early age will help them to develop good habits which will last a lifetime.
– Cycling encourages independence. Your child will feel empowered as they begin to take responsibility for making their own way to school. As they develop their confidence on the roads, they can even help to plan routes and navigate their own path.
– Cycling to school is also the perfect opportunity for children to put their road safety knowledge to the test. They’ll learn how to be a courteous and responsible cyclist, which will in turn help them to become a safer pedestrian and, in the future, a better driver.
– Cycling is great for the environment. The impact of driving your kids to school is enormous – every time a child is driven to school, their car releases the equivalent of 84 balloons of carbon dioxide into the air. As well as being better for your children’s health, cycling to school will help protect the environment for years to come.
– And what’s more, it will also make your neighbourhood a safer place. If more children are taking to two wheels for the school run, there will be less cars on the streets, meaning both those kids on bikes and those on two feet will have a safer, more pleasant journey to school.
Safety tips for cycling to school
– Before your little one takes to the roads, they should be confident in their abilities. Bikeability courses will give them all the practical skills and safety knowledge they need to ride on the roads.
– Ensure your child’s bike is roadworthy before you begin your first journey. You can find some great tips for bike maintenance in our kids’ bike guide.
– Get them the right gear to ensure your kids will be safe and visible on the roads. They can carry their school books in a small backpack, or consider fitting their bike with panniers to protect their back. Their clothes should be made of high visibility colours and fabrics, and make sure they have lights on their bike too, to help cars see them.
– If you’re nervous about letting your child cycle alone, why not join them? Cycling is a great way for adults to improve their fitness too – you’ll arrive at work feeling full of energy!
You can find more practical tips and advice for cycling to school online at Sustrans, or why not get in touch with your school? It might be possible to set up a cycling club for pupils, parents a teachers. Kids don’t need much persuading to get on their bikes, but if they see adults setting a great example, they’ll be even more inclined to start enjoying pedal power.