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!
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6 Responses to Build Your Own Bike Train

  1. Pingback: Another awesome info sharing session « Walk.Bike.Schools!

  2. Clint says:

    Just a quick note that Thornton Creek bike trains are running again this Fall! Every Friday, at least as long as the weather holds and there is interest. Check the Thornton Creek school newsletter for info; they are sending out regular notices. Awesome to see this continue in the new school year!

  3. Robin Randels says:

    Clint, or whoever is in charge of the bike trains, Cascade is writing a mini grant to do two workshops, North and South, on “How to Train your Bike Train”. I would love to talk to people who actually do run bike trains to help us develop this workshop. I rode with the Thornton Creek folks at the 39th St Greenway opening but neglected to get contact info for the organizers.
    Please contact me at robin.randels@cascadebicycleclub.org
    206 390 3945

  4. Pingback: The Thornton Creek Bike Train Project | Walk.Bike.Schools!

  5. Pingback: Bike Month is Almost Here! | Walk.Bike.Schools!

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