You’ve heard some version of these stories, right?. Your parents or grandparents had to walk for miles to school, uphill, in a blizzard (or in searing heat, or in pouring-down rain) both ways? Of course, we don’t advocate children walking for miles in extreme conditions but a little exercise each day doesn’t hurt. National Walk and Bike to School Day on October 2 (the first Wednesday in October) is about getting up and moving. Although we may have laughed at the exaggerated details, it’s pretty clear that walking or biking to school each day may have kept our relatives living longer and stronger.
The National Center for Safe Routes to School has been working for more than two decades to create safe conditions for walkable neighborhoods. Being able to walk and ride a bike in the community gives children a strong sense of self-confidence and a better quality of life. And National Walk and Bike to School Day isn’t just for children. We encourage your elected officials to walk and bike, too!
National Walk and Bike to School Day timeline
Fat tires are introduced
Schwinn’s spring fork and fat tire becomes the standard for mountain bikes.
Cars gain in popularity
To combat the fact that motor vehicles are becoming more popular than bicycles, the Kids Bike is invented, a 65-pound machine that mimics motor vehicles.
Bikes get pedals
Before, riders moved forward by pushing their feet along the ground.
The first bike is invented
Karl von Drais invents the laufmaschine, or pedal-less “running machine.”
National Walk and Bike to School Day Activities
Decorate your bike
Don’t just pull your bike out of the garage — ride in style! Add star- or heart-shaped reflectors to your tire spokes, attach blinking lights, or even thread some LED lights through your spokes.
Find a group
Even if you live far from school, you can still play along. Some schools have designated starting points and others host walking events right at school. See who else is participating near you and join in!
Bring a friend
Once you’ve decked out your bike and found your group, invite your neighbors and friends! Walk and Bike to School is all about community.
5 Biking Facts You Won't Believe
Do you bike backwards?
Andrew Hellinga of Australia biked 209.77 miles backwards.
How far do you mountain bike in a day?
Adrian Ellul of Australia mountain-biked 359.02 miles in a day.
How much did you spend on your bike?
Sotheby's New York sold British artist, Damien Hirst’s, “butterfly bike” for $500,000.
How many will be on your bike bus?
The United Kingdom’s Hackney Council and partners got 938 riders on their bike bus.
Why We Love National Walk and Bike to School Day
It gets our kids moving
Walk and Bike to School Day promotes movement and exercise. Being active every day is just one way to promote healthy families.
It puts safety first
By focusing on bikers and walkers, Walk and Bike to School Day shows our cities just how important safe pedestrian pathways are. Find an event near you to walk or bike with a group.
Last year was the largest Walk and Bike to School Day in history. This year, we can beat that record!