May is Walk & Bike Challenge Month: for our health and our community
A few years ago, a couple of us urbanMamas sat down with the BTA to talk about how families could be more engaged in active transportation programs. The Bike Commute Challenge, which has been happening every September for almost fifteen years now, had proven successful in encouraging employees throughout the region to bike to work.... we suggested: why not apply the same challenge to students and their commutes to their respective schools?
I guess they loved the idea, for we are now approaching the third year of the School Walk & Bike Challenge. So far, over 135 schools have registered to participate. For the entire month of May, students from across the state engage in friendly competition that encourages students to walk and bike to school.
I fully admit: the prospect of walking, biking, bussing, skipping, or getting to school withOUT the use of our family car - for the entire month - is daunting. Won't we be late to school every day? Then, won't I be late to work every day? Won't we get home later than usual, have less time for homework and dinner? Well, baby steps. It's all about the baby steps. Even just a day a week where we use active forms of transportation is a success. It all counts, even the skipping and skating to school.
With our school's system of choice, many families may attend schools that are too far to walk or bike to. Perhaps a park and ride system could work? At one charter school, we have heard the plan of a walking school bus that will meet several blocks from school. Children can gather and walk to school together from a central meeting point. Perhaps even consider organizing a bike train, also starting from a central meeting point, so families can ride en masse together to school.
What do you think? Can you commit? Maybe once a week for the month? Or, maybe even more? We'd love to hear how you think you'll participate in the Walk & Bike Challenge.