Have you ever wondered what it would be like if the country’s most innovative bicycle programs magically appeared in one school? In honor of Bike to School Day, we waved our magic bicycling wand and imagined exactly that. Here’s how the day would go.
Rise and shine
Like most American kids, we walk out the door and wait for the school bus. Instead of the deep roar of a diesel engine, we hear clicking chains and laughing friends. On the ‘bike bus,‘ parents take turns leading groups of kids to school by bike. This morning the pack sings an embarrassingly loud rendition of ?The Wheels on the Bike? while parents lead and sweep the ride.
We park our steeds in the paperclip bicycle rack, and log our distance with the Trip Tracker program where each mile earns dollars that can be spent at places like our favorite ice cream shop and the pizza joint across town.
The teacher begins the day with a morning math problem that we finish quickly, unaware that riding to school boosts concentration and puzzle solving ability for up to four hours and has a greater impact on academic performance than breakfast. During reading period, a case of the fidgets sets in. This used to be the precursor to trouble, but now we just slide our feet into the cranks of our pedal desks and burn off energy while diving deep into our books.
Lunch and learn
By afternoon, we?ve checked off reading, ?riting, and ?rithmatic from the Rs of education. Now it’s time for the fourth R: riding.
The gym teacher instructs us to get bikes from the school’s bike closet, explaining that bicycle safety is part of our physical education curriculum. After weaving between cones, using hand signals, and practicing stopping with both brakes, we tour around the neighborhood putting our new knowledge into practice.
At recess, kids pour onto the playground, taking to swings and slides and the schoolyard pump track. We try to see just how fast we can go and giggle when the principal joins in?that is, until we realize she’s faster than we are.
When the final bell rings, our Bike Mechanics Club meets to learn about fixing flat tires, lubing chains, and so much more. We smile thinking about the way Dad looked at us as we adjusted his derailleur so his chain wouldn?t fall off anymore.
School sports send us to the local trails with our school’s mountain bike team where practice means weaving through tall trees enveloped in the smell of pine and dirt and air untainted by exhaust. When a teammate stops abruptly, our eyes follow her pointed finger until we spot the bald eagle perched above and collectively take in the awesomeness of nature. Eventually, the crunch of tires on newly fallen leaves resumes, this time joined by chatter of how much larger eagles are in real life than they seem on TV.
Back at home, after a good meal and hot shower, we close our eyes and dream of tomorrow, thankful that it’s only Monday.
Kristin Butcher is a freelance writer based out of Boulder, Colorado, she spends her time writing about people, the outdoors and, of course, bikes. You can read her column, Butcher Paper, in BIKE Magazine.