Children riding their bikes to school

Bike Twitter’s tips for helping kids bike to school

Children riding their bikes to school

Why bike to school?

There’s something special about biking to school and watching your child wave to friends as they near the front gates.  If you're just starting out, for Bike to School day (in Alameda County, it's Walk and Roll to School Day), or because you want to take climate action and make sure your kid(s) get exercise, here are some reasons why biking to school is great:

  • Builds community and friendships
  • Lets kids have fun riding with friends - bikes make people smile!
  • Promotes better air quality & a lower carbon footprint
  • Reduces the number of cars on the road
  • Gets Kids and adults healthy physical activity
  • Saves money on fuel
  • Allows kids to be independent

As easy as riding a bike

Biking to school is an easy habit to build.  This guide is a big one not because biking is difficult but because we wanted to include a lot of information for anyone who wanted to dive into the details.  I asked others on Twitter about advice they would give to help kids bike to school, and this is a compilation of my own experience and other helpful tips.

Adapt this bike to school guide for your own school

This started as a guide for out own school and is expanded as a general-purpose guide.  Feel free to use any or all of this for your own school.

How to prepare yourself, your child, and your bike

If you haven’t had a chance to bike often, it can feel unfamiliar at first, but you (and your kid) will quickly adapt!

What type of bike(s) do we need?

Here are a few ways that local parents in Oakland bike to school with their kids:

  • Cargo bike or e-Cargo bike (or via a cargo bike conversion kit)
  • Rear bike seat - (many elementary-school kids won’t fit on these anymore)
  • Ride their own bike - Most kids will be riding bikes with 20” wheels, perhaps 24” for older kids aged 8-9 or older
  • Tandem, bike trailer

How to prepare your kid for biking to school

Sometimes riding to school can be a mental or physical challenge for your kid. Here are some tips:

How can my kid be for riding a bike to school?

They're good to go if they can ride safely.  We have kindergarteners riding to school at ours.  If kids need a break, teach them where they should stop so they are protected from car traffic.

Practice riding

If you plan on your child riding their own bike, practice riding with them so they can have the confidence and knowledge to meet the safety tips below.

Make it fun

Tell stories, play a game, and engage with your surroundings. We often make up stories, count dogs, and say hi to neighbors and friends. Ride with a friend if you can. Kids can decorate their bike with streamers, pinwheels, stickers. Bring a portable speaker for music if you’d like.

What should we bring?

  • Your child’s backpack (many have forgotten!)
  • A bike lock
  • Weather-appropriate gear (if it's raining, there is good rain gear out there!)

 

(this is a work in progress, we'll continue adding as we're able!)

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