Help Out With Trailblazing Bike Train Research!

Hello!

After a year of life without bike trains, I am back on board with Seattle Children’s Research Institute on a bike train research project. I am really excited to be working on a project that will determine the impact of physical activity (namely biking) on the health of school children. Our results will help inform kids, parents, teachers and organizers of the benefits of biking to school.

And right now we need your help! We are in the preliminary equipment testing stage and are looking for about 40 kids ages 9-12 who can ride a bike to spend about 1.5 hours with us at a Seattle park or community center. Each kid will wear an accelerometer, GPS, and heart rate monitor while completing various simple physical activities. You and your child’s information will be completely confidential and anonymity of research participants will be protected. Participants will be rewarded with $30 for their time.  

Image

Contact Maya for more information

If you are interested please contact me. Your participation is REALLY helpful and will be GREATLY appreciated. Email me (Maya) at: maya.jacobs@seattlechildrens.org.

 

Happy back-to-school!

Hello Walk.Bike.Schoolers, welcome back to school! This is one of the first autumns of my life that I am not preparing to go back to school as a full-time student. Pretty strange! However, it is also pretty wonderful as it opens my life to so many other wonderful things, such as biking more, and perhaps more bike-to-school activities.

I will certainly be at the next Walk.Bike.Schools meeting on September 18th, and hope to see you all there!

I also wanted to give a quick plug for a really amazing up-and -coming bike business here in Seattle. I know this is not really a space for advertisements, but Liontail Cycles might just be offering the best possible car alternatives!

Liontail cycles is a business dedicated to designing electric cargo bicycles. Henry Kellogg runs this business from his home, and is very much committed to designing impeccable bikes at affordable prices. So far, most of Henry’s bikes have been electric Xtracycles, though he has done electric conversions on hyrbrid and mountain bikes, and he is looking into a Madsen bucket-bike electric conversion. Anyone who is looking for a way to make it up some of these Seattle hills with kids in tow would be terrific candidates for these bikes. Also, some of these cycles can not only carry two or more kids, but can haul groceries, and hundreds of pounds of cargo!

Image

Build Your Own Bike Train

It has been nearly a month since the last NE Seattle Bike Train, and I have yet to post any sort of conclusion to this project. Sorry! Well, here it is…albeit a bit late.

The Thornton Creek Bike Train and Wedgwood group rides were more successful than I could have hoped for. While at Wedgwood we often had a relatively small turnout, we saw a three fold increase in ridership from the first week to the second, and the smiling faces were enough to call this project a success. At Thornton Creek we had a steady rate of about 30 kids riding in each Bike Train, with 40 kids on Bike to School Day. Each train saw new faces, from back-pedal break kindergarteners to 5th graders with their multi-speed shiny little racing bikes. These trains were indescribably rewarding. Each train that I lead brought a smile to my face that was impossible to suppress throughout the entire 1.5 mile ride.

The Thornton Creek Bike Trains have become a popular topic of conversation among the Seattle bike-to-school folks, so I thought it may be beneficial to post something of a DIY Bike Trains recipe. I will include a basic step-by-step process, however if you have further questions feel free to contact me!

  1. Create your community.
    1. Post an announcement about your project in the newsletter, email your class parents, talk to your kids. Request that anyone interested in partaking email you.
    2. Compile an email list and maintain contact with those who are interested.
  2. Examine a directory, or general student whereabouts.
    1. Where are kids concentrated?
    2. How can you create direct but useful routes?
  3. Check out a map:
    1. Where are the arterials? Residential streets?
  4. Hop on your bike:
    1. Where are the hills? Flat roads? What feels safest? Least safe?
  5. Compile this information.
    1. Create a few simple, preliminary routes that account for location of kids, topography, and traffic.
  6. Engage your community!
    1. Organize a meeting with other interested parents and staff. Finesse your routes, discuss other concerns.
    2. Determine bike train dates.
  7. Time your routes.
    1. Bike each route at least twice, stopping every 5-10 blocks in the same locations to check the time. (Hint: bike very slowly—imagine you are riding a tiny, single-speed, kid’s bike).
  8. Publish your routes and dates
    1. Create a blog, email template or poster (or all three). Get the word out, include links and dates in the newsletter.
  9. Find your leaders, arrive early, and bike the routes!

Wedgwood Group Ride Update

Two Wedgwood group rides have occurred so far, and the trend is really inspiring! We had four children on our first ride (which, while a small turnout, is still terrific!), however we more than tripled our numbers during our second ride: 13 kids showed up with their families. Wow!

This Friday is Bike to School Day, and I can’t wait to see our numbers triple again! We will be meeting at Top Pot doughnuts at 8:00am, and leaving at 8:30 for school. We will also be joined by the Bryant Elementary bike to school crowd, and while I wouldn’t be surprised to see half of Bryant at Top Pot, I think Wedgwood may just surprise us all with the turnout!

If you are a Wedgwood parent or student, track your trips this month to be eligible for prizes and to challenge yourself to get on that bike everyday!

Thornton Creek Bike Train Update

The Thornton Creek bike trains continue to amaze me. While our numbers hover around 30 kids (which is amazing!) we continually see new faces and more kids expressing interest. We are eager to grow this program–I am secretly hoping to have a huge turnout this Friday, which is Bike to School Day!

For those of you who have been riding to school, whether in bike trains or not, you can track your trips throughout bike to school month to challenge yourself and win prizes! Track your trips, ride in bike trains, and enjoy this incredibly beautiful city in the spring!

Thornton Creek Bike Trains Take Off!

Wow! Today was incredible. I was shocked and amazed by how many people we had out on our first day of Thornton Creek Bike Trains! We counted 35 kid’s bikes at the school, and a few others came in on xtracycles and tandems. Holy cow! I was expecting about 8 people, and hoping for 10, this number really blows me away. Even the Bryant folks who came (thank you so much for your support, Bryant parents) were impressed by Thornton Creek’s numbers! Hopefully we will pick up even more steam and see more and more children riding! Thank you all SO much for riding and supporting this project–it is so great to see a line of kids riding to school!

Today was meant as a sort of test-ride, to iron out the details, and I am indeed seeing some places for improvement. Stay tuned for an organizational google doc that will allow parents to collaborate as chaperons, as well as for some updated suggestions about bike train safety.

Photos to come!

Timed Thornton Creek Routes

The finalized routes are here! The south route has been modified very slightly to minimize arterial crossings. The times refer to the times the bike train is expected to leave that location. Cyclists can hop on the train at any point during its route, using the times as guidelines to inform arrival. If you are planning to participate in these bike trains (which you are, of course) please read the rules of bike trains before the first train.

Thornton Creek Elementary School North Route

Image

Thornton Creek Elementary School South Route


To join the Thornton Creek Bike Train Google Group, contact Maya at maya29@uw.edu.

Bike Train Rules

If you are considering joining a train at Thornton Creek or Wedgwood, or if you are pondering organizing something similar in your own locale, please take a few minutes to get acquainted with the rules of Thornton Creek and Wedgwood bike trains.

Rules–hard and fast:

  1. Children who ride their own cycles must be comfortable and competeImagent on the bike.
  2. ALL attendees MUST wear helmets!
  3. Every group must maintain two adults in front and one in back at all times.
  4. (At least for now) All children must be represented by an adult.
  5. Group rides must stop at all stop signs and lights and wait for parents to signal that it is safe to cross.

General Guidelines:

  1. While bicycle theft is lame, and stealing childrens’ bikes is lame and petty, it is a good idea to come equipped with a lock, and to not leave bikes on racks overnight.
  2. Be aware of your tire pressure/brake adjustments to be a safe and efficient cyclist.
  3. To keep a buffer between kids and cars, I suggest that two adults remain on the outside edge of the bike train at all times.

RIde to Wedgwood!

Participate in bike-to-school month! This May, Wedgwood Elementary School will be joining forces with Bryant at Top Pot Doughnuts before taking to the streets and parading off to school. Every Friday this May, Wedgwood and Bryant riders will meet at Top Pot at 8:00am for doughnuts (and coffee for parents), Wedgwood cyclists will leave at 8:20, Bryant cyclists will leave at 8:30. See below for route information.Image

Thornton Creek Elementary School Bike-Train

Thornton Creek Elementary students will soon be participating in collaborative commuting. This May, children and their parents will ride the predetermined routes to school, stopping to pick up more students along the way. These rides, while cheaper and more environmentally sustainable than driving, also build friendship, community and trust among both student and parent participants. While bike-trains may be small in scale, they address global issues such as social isolation, climate change, childhood obesity and economic instability.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 120 other followers