We could think of a million reasons why biking to school is the best form of transportation before a long day of classes. Here are just a few: It gets your kid some fresh air and exercise, they don’t have to sit on a bus and it helps them gain a safe sense of freedom and independence.
So, if you are lucky to live within biking distance to your child’s school, you’ll simply need to prepare them to hit the road—with a few safety precautions, of course. And if your little student is over 14 (the legal age to ride an ebike in most places) there’s no better way to start the school year than with the gift of a Bluejay bike...not to mention, it’ll make a longer ride much more manageable and help ensure they arrive to school on time.
Here are our five tips to prepare your kids to tackle their cycling commute to school. We just hope they don’t “lose” their homework along the way.
The way that you drive to school might not be the best—or the safest—way to bike. So use GoogleMaps or a biking app like Strava to find the route that works best for you and the child who will be biking. Keep in mind that you might want to avoid tricky intersections or blind turns and you’ll only want them to ride on roads with a shoulder or a bike lane. If your kid is riding their Bluejay to school, major hills won’t be a problem, so long as they put that battery power to good use.
2. Then do a few test runs
Make sure you and your studious biker are familiar with the chosen bike route. As in, you’ve both cycled it a few times (on the weekends or during a free afternoon), so your kiddo can get used to the road before having to worry about making it to school in time for the first bell. If they’ll be riding solo, this will also help them feel a bit more confident before heading out on their own. Make sure to time how long it takes and factor in a few extra minutes for that first day, just in case they get lost or encounter any issues.
3. Decide on a safe place to park the bike
During one of those aforementioned test runs, locate a secure place at the school where the bike can be parked for the entire day. If there’s not obviously a space for bike parking, check with the school administrators to see what other options they have for students who arrive on two wheels. Wherever the bike storage is, make sure there’s plenty of room for a lock to fit around the wheels and the frame. Having your kid test out locking their bike up isn’t a bad idea either. And it may seems obvious (to you!) but remind them to bring all of their extras to store in their locker, from their bike helmet to their lights.
4. Learn the rules of the road
Does your middle schooler know how to signal they’re making a right turn? Do they know how to safely prepare to turn left? And are they aware that the sidewalk might not be the best place to ride? There are quite a few rules that you should go over before sending them off on their own. Remember that your child is probably not well-versed on the rules of the road for cars, so it’s also worth going over what hazard lights mean and how a four-way stop sign works. The more comfortable your little one is hitting the road, the more confident of a biker they’ll be.
5. Dress appropriately for two wheels
Obviously there’s one accessory that's non-negotiable: a helmet! And one that actually fits their head properly. But dressing for a successful bike ride doesn’t stop there. Make sure your biker is wearing clothing that won’t get stuck in the gears or spokes and that their sweatshirts or jackets keep their hands clear for properly grasping the handlebars. Finally, don’t assume that just any heavy bag will do for transporting their books, pens and homework to a from school. While a backpack is definitely the best and most apparent option, a messenger bag will also work well. But should your child demand a school tote (who are we to argue with them!?) just be sure their bike is equipped with a basket, since this one-shouldered bag might throw off their balance. Now, they’re officially ready to bike to school.