July 1, 2012 6 Comments
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!
- Create your community.
- 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.
- Compile an email list and maintain contact with those who are interested.
- Examine a directory, or general student whereabouts.
- Where are kids concentrated?
- How can you create direct but useful routes?
- Check out a map:
- Where are the arterials? Residential streets?
- Hop on your bike:
- Where are the hills? Flat roads? What feels safest? Least safe?
- Compile this information.
- Create a few simple, preliminary routes that account for location of kids, topography, and traffic.
- Engage your community!
- Organize a meeting with other interested parents and staff. Finesse your routes, discuss other concerns.
- Determine bike train dates.
- Time your routes.
- 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).
- Publish your routes and dates
- Create a blog, email template or poster (or all three). Get the word out, include links and dates in the newsletter.
- Find your leaders, arrive early, and bike the routes!