How to ride a bike to school: Tips for getting started

Full Bike Racks

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.  You are free to use and modify this guide to help support biking to school in your local community. This guide was made possible by a lot of helpful feedback from the #BikeTwitter community, thank you all!

Here are other 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.


How to prepare

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 other parents bike to school with their kids:

  • Cargo bike or e-Cargo bike
  • 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
  • Tandem, bike trailer

How to prepare your kid

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

Practice riding

If you plan on your child riding their own bike, make sure they meet minimum safety requirements (see 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

(this is a work in progress, stay tuned for updates!)

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