Bloom! Montessori is Bicycle Friendly!
One of our long-standing facility improvement wishes has been the installation of a bicycle rack at the school. We envisioned the rosy cheeked children happily riding to school with their parents, locking their bikes to the rack, and then riding home at the end of the day. Well, that vision is finally a reality!
I ordered this pretty bright yellow rack a few months ago, and after months of waiting, it was delivered this week, right in the middle of a snowstorm which dumped 8-10" in town (naturally!). So, I waited patiently (until the weekend); then, prevailed upon my very tolerant husband to go dig some 12" holes in the freezing ground and install it before Wednesday's storm.
Not long ago, children routinely moved around their neighborhoods and traveled to school by bicycle. In 1969, 48% of children aged 5-14 walked or rode their bicycles to school; by 2009, that number had declined to 15%; however, the percentage of children who lived within one mile of school has remained fairly stagnant. To understand the decline, the Centers for Disease Control conducted a nationwide survey of parents and students to identify the most common barriers; most parents cited distance to school, traffic related danger, weather, crime danger, and opposing school policies (schools that do not allow children to bike to school) as the main factors. Many of these concerns work in concert to create a self-perpetuating cycle. For example, as motor vehicle traffic increases, parents become increasingly concerned that it is unsafe for children to walk or bicycle to school; as a result, they begin driving to school, thereby adding even more traffic to the road and sustaining the cycle. In fact, 25% of morning rush hour traffic is comprised of parents driving their children to school!
We are fortunate to be a little neighborhood school and we want to do our part to encourage parents to consider this mode of transportation. Bicycling with your child is a wonderful way to spend some quality time with them, to become more physically active as a family, to support your child's gross motor development, and to positively influence your child by setting a healthy example. Bicycling is excellent exercise- the average 170 pound person, biking for an hour at 10 mph, will burn 300 calories! There is also a potential for a completely different workout every time you hop on your bicycle- you can vary your speed, distance, route, intensity, and ride up or down hills. Additionally, unlike motorists, cyclists see more of nature, save on travel costs, have better health and more energy, and reduce the pollution caused by vehicle emissions.
We ask that cyclists park their bicycles in the middle of the rack, leaving space at the ends for parents who wish to lock Burley trailers to the rack. Because there may be more commuting cyclists than available spots on the rack, we also ask that bicycles are not stored at the school overnight. We also ask that bicycles not be locked to the fence, or parked in a manner which impedes the sidewalk or access to the building.
Need some additional motivation? Here are some of our favorite bicycle links:
- A great site describing the factors that have contributed to the decline in children walking and cycling to school by an organization which advocates for safer routes: Safe Routes to School Program, The Decline of Walking and Bicycling, http://guide.saferoutesinfo.org/introduction/the_decline_of_walking_and_bicycling.cfm
-A local nonprofit dedicated to making bicycling in Longmont safer and more enjoyable (their site includes maps of local bike paths and popular routes): Bicycle Longmont, http://bicyclelongmont.org/content.aspx?page_id=51340
-One of the coolest bikes we have ever seen for transporting children: Madsen Bucket Bicycle, http://www.inhabitots.com/a-bike-bucket-for-your-brood/
-A lovely blog written by Dottie Brackett, a Chicago attorney, about her adventures in bicycle commuting: Let's Go Ride A Bike: Life on Two Wheels, http://letsgorideabike.com/blog/
-A great blog written by a Canadian mother about bicycle commuting: http://www.girlsandbicycles.ca/
-A beautiful blog that combines European fashion and cycling: http://www.copenhagencyclechic.com/
Our favorite bicycle shops (anywhere!):
The Seattle Dutch Bike Company, (Seattle, WA), http://www.dutchbikeseattle.com
The Mindful Bike, (Denver, CO), http://www.mindfulbike.com
Great Bicycling Resources for Children:
-Strider Bikes: Want a painless approach to teaching your child to ride a bicycle? The stryder method teaches children balance and coordination before pedaling, helping your child to experience success. Visit their website at http://www.stridersports.com/
-Boulder Indoor Cycling: Teaches fundamental cycling skills to children aged 2-10; offers camps on days when schools are closed! http://www.boulderindoorcycling.com/
We hope that you will enjoy this new addition to our facility!