Thursday, September 2, 2010

Biking to James Madison HS

FABB attended the James Madison High School Fall Kickoff Festival this week along with John Brunow (in green t-shirt) of bikes@vienna and Charlie Strunk (dark polo shirt), County bike coordinator. We talked to students and parents about the benefits of biking to school. John provided free tuneups and brought his event racks for student bike parking. There is a great potential for bicycling at Madison given Vienna's mostly bike-friendly grid of streets. A few kids were interested but we mostly talked to adults and handed out copies of the county bike map.

We also talked to Mr. Gongaware (on the left above), the Environmental Club faculty advisor. He thinks interest in bicycling is gaining, that kids are more open to using bicycles for transportation. Unfortunately most of them have never received any bicycle education, and likely have never been encouraged to bike to school. If there's interest, we may attend an Environmental Club meeting to discuss the benefits of using bikes as part of the transportation system.


Nice to read about your event at James Madison High School. I grew up in Fairfax County and remember we had two kids who rode their bikes to our high school, and I wasn't one of them. How are the schools these days in terms of providing bike parking? Are any of the Fairfax County schools doing Safe Routes to School?
There is only one school involved with Safe Routes to School, in the largest school system in the state. In the past there has been very little support from the school system for walking and biking to school. However, we've heard of more and more parents wanting their kids to be able to walk and bike to school. There's little bike parking, and it's often substandard, usually grill racks. Not sure if there are any inverted U racks at any schools. I wish I could be more optimistic about the prospects; it will take a while to change the mindset of parents who think they have to drive their kids to school.

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