Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bike to School Day 2013 - Summary report

Thanks to Jeff Anderson, leader of Wolfie's Bike Train at Wolftrap Elementary School, FABB member, and recipient of this year's WABA Education Award, for the following summary report of Bike to School Day. If you have more news, please leave a comment. The event was a great success and we hope the turnout is an indication that more kids will be biking to school and for other short trips in the years to come:

Bike to School Day 2013

Marshall Road ES
The second annual National Bike to School Day was held on May 8th. More than 1,400 schools across the nation participated with 85 in Virginia. Of those 85, 35 were Fairfax County Public Schools. This was a 75% increase over last year's 20 schools participating. Rain threatened some of the planned events with some schools opting to postpone until May 10th. A few intrepid schools, including those who run bike and walk events all year, carried on and fortunately the weather cooperated. Maybe it was a result of Vienna-based Wolftrap Elementary taking part in broadcasting WJLA ABC7's morning weather report as they prepped for the day and scaring the weather demons away.

In preparation for May 8th, a few schools, Marshall Road ES and Oak View ES, held bike rodeos the weekend before whilst Vienna ES held a bike and trail safety session during school the Friday before. This is great news as we need more bike and pedestrian safety curriculum to be taught to future members of FABB.

Wolftrap ES - Check out all the bikes!
Many schools ran their first ever bike to school day events. In Reston, all seven elementary schools participated for the first time and ran a "most bikes in the rack" challenge. Hunters Woods ES has a very challenging transportation climate. They are a "Magnet" school which means they draw kids from around the county. They ran their first bike train (35 bikes) with a Fairfax County Police Bike Patrol escort. Terraset racks were full with around 115 kids bikes. Thanks to the Reston Association's PBAC for getting the word out and recruiting their members to volunteer their time. Leading up to Bike to School Day, Kent Gardens in McLean used a bicycle to teach simply machines as part of their Science, Technology, Engineering & Math program/ They had over 100 bikers riding to school.

Hollin Meadows ES
At the other end of the County, Hollin Meadows ES ran their postponed event on the 10th and had over 90 bikes in their racks. Delegate Scott Surovell led one of the groups riding to school. Flint Hill ES (which had 61 kids bike) in Vienna had a fun spin on the day by awarding PE credit for distance walking or biking if they mapped out their route on google and showed the PE Teacher.

And the fun wasn't limited to elementary schools. Kilmer Middle School participated as they always do with over 110 bikers whilst three other middle schools (Rocky Run, Luther Jackson and South County) ran smaller sized events. Even two high schools, Annandale and Woodson, participated - a first for FCPS. Woodson has four History teachers who regularly commute to work via bike, so look for big things from them next year.

Reston bike patrol at Hunters Woods ES
In Vienna, six elementary schools ran their Bike/Walk Challenge week, now in it's fifth year. It's a week long challenge of getting kids to walk or bike to school, challenging parents to avoid KissNRide and challenging each other to massive trophies - the Challenge Cup and the Bike Cup. This year, Wolftrap ES walked away with the Challenge Cup with over 1150 trips to school made by students over the course of 5 days. Vienna ES retained the Bike Cup after first timer Westbriar ES took the lead early, only to be overtaken by Wolftrap with 102 bikes in the racks on National Bike to School Day. Wolftrap went into the final day with a lead in the Bike Cup but Vienna pulled out a huge bike day w/ 113 bikes in the racks, surpassing Wolftrap's second 100+ bike day.

One of the Hunters Woods ES bike trains
Bike trains were running all over Vienna all week - some with bike patrol police escort and teachers and some with local Professionals and 6x World Champions. Congrats to the kids of Cunningham Park, Louise Archer, Marshall Road, Vienna, Westbriar & Wolftrap for recording over 5,000 trips by foot or pedal. Rumor has it those 7 schools in Reston are gearing up for a Reston vs. Vienna Challenge. Wouldn't that be fun......

Overall May 8th - National Bike to School Day in Fairfax County was a great success and we look forward to International Walk to School Day in October.

Side Note: Arlington Public Schools participated for the first time this year, with all 31 schools promoting the day and running various events. Although Fairfax is 7x larger than Arlington, wouldn't be amazing to see all 140 FCPS elementary schools participating!

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