When I was younger and had decided that school holidays had gone on long enough, I could hardly wait for the heat of summer to make way for the crisp change that autumn would bring. Don’t get me wrong. I looked forward to returning to a desk with about as much enthusiasm as any kid. It was the change in season that got me excited. Seeing your breath in the cooler air made you feel very much alive. It was fun to observe the trees each week as they changed to bright colours and eventually scattered their leaves on the ground. The most fun to be had? The crisp, crackling sound that you heard when riding your bike through the sun dried leaves. I still look forward to it even though school days are behind me.
For many students, those days are now upon them. Summer vacation has come to an end and the new school year has begun. For a younger person, riding their bike to school can provide a sense of responsibility and independence. Your child has to plan their route in order to arrive at school on time and be sure to lock up their bike properly. The ride home after school can provide a great platform for social skills as children can talk about their day while pedalling along. Let’s not forget that riding a bike to school provides good exercise and prepares them for the day ahead. The requirements for riding to school at the junior level are quite minimal. A properly working bike, a lock of any kind, and a helmet are all that is needed.
For those students returning to college or university, the benefits are the same but the requirements change slightly. Riding in less than perfect weather conditions is made much more comfortable by using fenders. These can be the full coverage mudguards or the easy on, easy off mountain bike style. Backpacks are the usual go-to for hauling school supplies around, but a carrier rack and saddlebags is much easier on your back, especially when you consider the heavy weight of a few textbooks. Heading to and returning from classes in the dark is where a good LED headlight and taillight are a must. Most lights are now USB rechargeable, saving the hassle of relying on batteries. Lastly, we can’t stress enough the importance of a good lock, or pair of locks. Choose a heavy u-lock as your main lock and back it up with one or two cable locks for added security. If you have quick release wheel axles, they can be replaced with anti-theft axle skewers.
Economical, healthy and relatively easy to do. It’s also habit forming! Riding a bike to class might just be something for you and your child to consider.