Thornton Creek Elementary bike train organizer Maya Jacobs wrote an article for Yes! Magazine giving advice for people who want to organize bike trains to their neighborhood schools. Among her bits of advice: Find a group of interested parents, pick a safe route that runs near many students’ homes, then publicize the route and the days it runs. The fairly straight-forward process takes some leg work, but the rewards for the kids and the community are huge.
We round the corner to collect two more kids waiting patiently with their bikes at the ready. The train slows enough for the kids to hop on board, and then picks up speed again. By the time we reach school, our train is comprised of 13 laughing children, all proud to have made their morning commute on their own. With high fives and whoops, we are greeted by the 20 riders who took the north bound route riders. The school’s three bike racks are already overflowing with bikes, and the nearby posts are quickly filling up.
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The Thornton Creek trains are just a small piece of the burgeoning Seattle bike-to-school network. Bike trains, which were part of my senior capstone project at the University of Washington, introduced me to some of the most inspiring people I know: families who have never owned a car, ten-year-olds who have cycled from Seattle to Portland, students who ride to school daily, rain or shine.
The school year may be at a close, but there’s no reason you can’t do some work to get your neighborhood school biking from week one this fall.