Words by Tess Becker
The pandemic forced a lot of changes. One such thing was bus rides – especially for school kids. School buses limited capacity on their rides to stifle the spread of Covid, and that made the school commute a lot more tedious.
Some parents decided to break out bikes and bike their kids to school.
“All the research bore out that the kids were happier, healthier and arriving at school ready to learn,” said Gillian Burgess, the founder of Kidical Mass, which takes people on large group bike rides.
“When you’re a parent, it’s very easy to get lost in this role and just turn into a chauffeur, so biking with them to school was also better for my mental health to be outside and feel like I was in charge of what was going on in my kid’s life rather than just driving them around everywhere.”
When people saw what Gillian was doing with the school bike rides, other students and parents decided to join her.
Now, over the past two years, they bike as a group to Key Elementary School one day a week – and these bike bus programs are popping up everywhere.
Across the Atlantic, Barcelona has a widespread “bicibus” program with more than 1,200 kids pedaling 90-plus routes to more than 70 schools across 25 cities in Catalonia.
Ideally, these programs will bring communities together, promote some physical activity, and cut down on emissions to help the planet.