HUB: Your Cycling Connection urges kids to bike to school
The organization formerly known as the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition has changed up more than its name.
Starting bright and early on May 14 and continuing until May 18, HUB: Your Cycling Connection is organizing the first-ever stand-alone Bike to School Week in the Lower Mainland.
HUB bike education program manager and Bike to School Week 2012 organizer Steph Gray said the goal is to have “at least 500 students recording their routes” on the VACC website . The 26-year-old, who has a background in kinesiology and nonprofit work in cycling awareness and education, said she knows there are already many more students on two wheels out there.
Getting kids on bikes isn’t new terrain for HUB, Gray added, but this year the event is happening at a time that’s more user-friendly.
“The last three or four years, we’ve had Bike to Work and Bike to School Week at the same time,” Gray told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. “There was a lot of benefit to that because there’s a lot of exposure, and Bike to Work Week is really big and really well known, and the teachers are riding to school and the kids are riding to school, and it made a lot of sense in a lot of ways.”
But HUB also consistently got feedback from schools that June didn’t work so well with their schedules, according to Gray.
“June is kind of a crazy month in schools—it’s the end of programming, especially in high schools, and exams are coming up,” Gray said. “There is so much going on that it was hard for the schools to give a lot of attention to Bike to School Week. And up in the Okanagan, they have a really successful Bike to School Week program, and they run it at around this time earlier in May. So, we decided that this year we’d give it a try branching out on our own and hopefully working with the school schedule.”
School boards in Coquitlam, the City of North Vancouver, New Westminster, Surrey, and Vancouver are already onboard, she said.
Coquitlam councillor and avid cyclist Selina Robinson told the Straight, “I think it’s fabulous—if you want to get behavioural change, you start with your children.”
Robinson noted her grown children, now ages 20 and 22, are too old to take part, but says she rode to school in Laval, Quebec, throughout her school days in the Montreal area.
“Biking to school means freedom,” Robinson said by phone. “You get to school faster, you can hang out with your friends, and you get some exercise.”
Gray said any questions about HUB’s Bike to School Week 2012 can be directed to email@example.com.