More than 700 Australian schools will be transported back to the ‘70s next Friday, as this year’s National Ride2School Day sees thousands of children riding their bikes to school in a salute to more active times gone by.
The annual Bicycle Network event is Australia’s biggest celebration of two-wheeled travel to and from school and on Friday 22 March celebrates its 10th anniversary with a ‘back to the 70s’ theme.
“In the 1970s, eight out of ten students rode or walked to school, but today that number has dropped to just two out of ten,” said Bicycle Network CEO, Craig Richards.
“Our drive to school culture has to change as we face the depressing reality that a child’s life expectancy may soon be lower than their parents’ for the first time in history.”
As inactivity has risen, so has childhood obesity. National Ride2School Day is designed to encourage, empower and enable more primary and secondary students to get physically active on their journey to school.
“Kids love the wind in their hair! In an age of electronic games and mobile devices, riding a bike is the closest thing a kid can get to flying. That is, until the Marty McFly hoverboard is finally invented,” said Mr Richards.
Students, parents and teachers from every state and territory in Australia will be taking part. In doing so, they’ll show communities how easy it is to ride, scoot, skate or walk to school.
National Ride2School Day is part of a wider, annual program delivered by Bicycle Network, which works with schools, students, parents and local government to cultivate active and healthy school communities.
A key initiative within the program is a HandsUp! Count. As a key reporting tool, HandsUp! Counts enable schools to measure the number of students riding and walking to school and incentivise improved walking or riding in the local community.
“The genius behind HandsUp! is it shows young people what their peers are doing. So, if one person commits to riding, friends think, I’m in too,” said Mr Richards.
Mr Richards said Bicycle Network has identified that one of the biggest barriers to children riding to school is the parents’ fear of judgement from other parents, an issue that is leading to a ‘back seat generation’.
“If one parent says to another, ‘What? You don’t drive your child to school! Aren’t you worried about stranger danger?’ they feel awful. But the danger is grossly overstated; all we are doing is teaching our kids to be unhealthy.”
Register your school and get riding!
While there is only one week until Bicycle Network's National Ride2School Day, it's not too late to register and get involved.
Register your school now and you will receive a special pack from Bicycle Network with information and promotional material to get students excited about the day and help them get riding.
Whether students are new to riding or already get to school on two wheels, National Ride2School Day will be a day of fun and colour.
It can also help students develop teamwork and leadership, with those who ride every day able to help their friends who might ride for the first time.Register now