Students get to school the ride way

Five children preparing to ride their bikes

On ya bikes: kids can test out a different way to get to school. Photo: Bicycle Victoria

Students across Australia will embrace a healthier start to the day on Wednesday 17 March with thousands of schools across the country celebrating National Ride2School Day.

Over 100,000 Aussie kids will celebrate the annual event at their school with healthy breakfasts, all-day cycling festivals, school parades and bike excursions. National Ride2School Day is an opportunity to promote physical activity as a means of transport which has proven benefits to a child’s health and wellbeing.

Comedian and radio announcer, Matt Tilley from Melbourne’s Fox FM, has hopped onboard the Ride2School Program and is officially the 2010 National Ride2School Day Ambassador. “Sure, riding to school is a great way to keep kids active and confident in their own abilities – but let’s be honest, more than anything else it’s the only guaranteed way for kids to avoid that embarrassing kiss at the school gates or Mum sitting in the school car park in her pink dressing gown,” he said.

Ride2School Events Manager, Ms Mary Akiki, said schools registered in the program have reported nearly half of their students are actively getting to school either by riding, walking, or by scooter. “By actively getting to and from school student’s daily physical activity increases significantly, which benefits their overall health and helps reduce the risk of obesity and associated health problems,” Ms Akiki said.

Bicycle Victoria’s CEO, Mr Harry Barber, said National Ride2School Day in 2009 was a huge success with over 1,000 schools registering and 100,000 students enrolled. “National Ride2School Day allows parents and teachers to embrace active travel as an alternative. The event has become the largest ever national celebration of walking and riding to school,” Mr Barber said. The Ride2School program, run all year round, is well on the way to changing the active travel habits of students since it began in 2005. It is free for schools to sign up, and no cost need be involved on the day.

Log onto www.ride2school.com.au to sign up and receive a promotional kit Ride2School is brought to you by ‘Go for your life’.

Preparing for the day is knowing the ABC of cycling – some very basic yet important rules to know before starting off.

  • A is for air in your tyres.
    All bikes perform better if they have the prescribed amount of air in the tyres. This amount is found on the side walls of the tyres and in doing so they will hold the road better in cornering, rolling along with minimal resistance and the need to stop quickly for the tyre to flatten enough to grip the road surface. The right amount of air keeps the optimum amount of rubber in contact with the road making it safe all round for the rider and others they share the ride with. Are the tyres themselves in road worthy condition and not cracked or worn out?
  • B is for brakes.
    Are they road worthy in working order the first time every time? Are the brake blocks aligning with the rim surface which is clean and oil and grease free? Are the brake cables working freely not requiring excessive pressure because the cables are seizing? A visual inspection and push with some active use of the brakes to gauge their responsive operation will only take moments but give confidence that the bike will be safe. Checking a back pedal brake is as just important.
  • C is for a number of checks that are important to make the circle of safety complete.
    The chain being at the right tension can make a lot of difference. Nothing worse than dropping the chain from being too loose and your child struggling to get the chain back on. Chain tension can affect back brakes operation and a tight chain can make the back wheel slip sideways in the frame and bring the riding experience to a grinding halt. C can also stand for the dreaded crash and our greatest fears of being injured. There used to be a very prophetic message of wearing helmets of “don’t hit the road without one”. Is the helmet cover itself in clean and sound condition with no cracks and abrasions with the inner padding for absorption of pressure in event of a fall.. Is the clip in a condition that it does not come open and stays locked. Are the straps correctly aligned so that the front of the helmet is no more than two fingers depth above the eye brows with side clips located just beneath the ear lobes?

See you on the road soon God willing

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