Friday 23 March is the National Ride2School day Australian students will grab their wheels and ride to school, creating one of Australia’s largest celebrations of active participation. It is anticipated that over 140,000 Australian kids at over 1,000 primary and secondary schools will participate. Students and school communities across Australia will embrace a healthier start to the day.
National Ride2School Day is an opportunity to promote riding, scooting, skating and walking to school as a means of transport, which has proven health and wellbeing benefits. The biggest day in the Bicycle Network’s Ride2School program calendar, National Ride2School Day sees student’s in registered schools average riding rate increase to 48 percent, more than double the national average.
Here in Bendigo Schools such as Spring Gully, White Hills, Epsom, St Monica’s Kangaroo Flat, Big Hill Golden Square, California Gully and Axedale Primary Schools have embraced this day with great enthusiasm innovation and connection with the wider cycling community.
Ride2School Team Manager, Miss Kelly Pearson, said health authorities say children need a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity each day and riding, scooting, skating or walking to and from school is an easy way to achieve this. “Children who develop a healthy, active lifestyle when they are young are much more likely to maintain those habits in adulthood. National Ride2School Day is a great way to celebrate being active.” All schools are encouraged to sign-up at ride2school.com.au
White Hills Primary School principal Damien Jenkyn has the good fortune of passionate bike-riding parents, Kingsley and Elizabeth Morse-McNabb, making an early start to the day. Kingsley organised Bendigo Cycles to conduct a bike maintenance session for parents and students alike, to ensure that intending participants have a road worthy cycle and the skills to assess in the future when their bike may be in need of maintenance. Kingsley and Elizabeth have also arranged “Free Wheeling Fridays” in the lead up to the Ride2School Day. Adult chaperones meet up with students and parents at pick up points along the linear trail that runs from Lake Weeroona to Epsom.
On the outskirts of Bendigo at Axedale Principal Lex Johnston, is intending to utilise a section the O’Keefe Rail Trail for this popular annual activity. With the upgrading and extension of the existing rail trail, Lex has realized the potential of this trail as being an additional recreational asset for his school and is planning to offer an active and healthy learning opportunity for the Axedale students, well away from the busy roads and highways.
The Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail have also been asked to assist the school with this Ride2School activity on the O’Keefe trail, which the Friends members know very well. It is hoped the riding students will gain an appreciation of the trail facilities and its environment, as well as become more aware of the Friends group and its activities.
The Friend’s Convenor Garry Long said “Not only will it be great to see the kids riding to school on the rail trail, we think this will also be a perfect opportunity to create our link with the school, and provide an update on the O’Keefe Rail Trail project. Also we hope to talk about the vision of the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail, a vision to build upon the O’Keefe trail and create a 100km long Bendigo to Kilmore Rail Trail.”
Looking forward to seeing you on the road soon God willing