National Bike Month is officially underway, and one of the first big events on the calendar is Bike to School Day. The 4th annual Bike to School day is scheduled for Wednesday, May 4th, and is the perfect opportunity to raise awareness about the benefits of riding a bike to school.
According to a Danish study from 2012, kids who walked or biked to school performed better on tasks requiring concentration than those who were driven to school or took public transit. On top of that incredible benefit, the researchers found that the lift in concentration lasts for about four hours into the school day. The results were part of the "Mass Experiment 2012" project that examined the connection between concentration, diet and exercise among 20,000 school-aged children aged 5-19.
Other benefits of biking to school include a stronger connection to the community, a taste of independence, numerous health benefits, family bonding time and of course – exercise. The fact is biking to school improves children’s cardio fitness. In a study looking at the physical activity of 5th graders, those who regularly walk or bike to school get 3% more minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Added together, that’s an extra 24 minutes of activity per day!
These are just a few of the numerous scientifically proven reasons why biking is so good for kids. Here at Saris we have many parents that bike with their kids to school or daycare. We asked a few of them to weigh in on the topic.
"Our preschool son loves it when his dad picks him up from school by bike and gets to ride home in the child seat. It’s such a treat for him and he talks about it all day!"
"I like to show my kids that you can get around without cars. It’s pretty simple: every day show them something you can do with a bike that they'd regularly do in a car and you start to change their thinking.
Suddenly it's no big deal to see dad biking home from work, or if we get on a bike to go somewhere it’s just naturally part of life. If you always do activities in a car, they grow up thinking you can’t do those things by bike and thus only see the bicycle for recreational use."
"We do a combination of walking and biking. When we walk it sparks a conversation between us about the day, what they learned at school and what activities they did with their friends. Plus, it gives us an opportunity to bond.
When spring arrives the boys immediately ask to get their bikes out of storage. They love the freedom and independence it gives them to get to school and around town. They also just love being on their bikes – so long as mom doesn’t take them on too far of a ride!"
"We bike and/or walk to school because it's fun, we get to spend time together before a busy day, and it's a great way to build healthy habits."
"On a bike the kids can see things and feel things that they just can’t in a car. And they smile a lot."
"I love getting outside with my boys. Ever since they could walk, biking has been a big part of their lives. It’s something that we can do together that really bridges the ability gap between our ages.
I would have to say that they are safer because of it too, always looking out for others and vehicles, teaches them balance, courage and shows them that 'exercise' can be fun."
"It’s an attempt to teach them our love for the bike, and we think it’s working. Our two preschoolers automatically head for their bikes each day. When we ride as a family we pull one of them in a Weehoo and the other in a Chariot behind our bikes.
While we intentionally separate them (no more backseat brawls!), we didn’t expect the added level of connection we get with each one while biking. Last weekend our 5 year old son entertained fellow cyclists on the bike path with his singing and dancing from the seat of his Weehoo. Good times were had by all."
If you’re a parent, we hope you’ll join in on the National Bike to School festivities in your neighborhood. Find an event near you.