FAMILY FITNESS: Riding back to school

FAMILY FITNESS: Riding back to school

FAMILY FITNESS: Riding back to school

First published in Family

Last week we gave you practical tips to start cycling to work, but what about if you have children?

In this article we’ll tell you how incorporating the school run doesn’t have to be a barrier to sustainable commuting.

The average primary school journey is 1.5 miles, just a 15-minute cycle or scoot, yet one in five cars on the road during the morning peak are doing the school run, which contributes massively to Swindon’s congestion problems.

Walking or cycling with your children is a fantastic way to start your day together. Encouraging children to walk, cycle or scoot will reduce congestion and pollution around the school gates. It will also help your child’s mental and physical health. Teachers find that pupils who walk and cycle arrive at school more relaxed, alert and ready to start the day than those who travel by car. Here are some options on how to cycle to school with your children.

l Bicycle child seats: From around 12 months, when a baby can support its head with a helmet on, little ones can be carried in a rear or front-mounted child seat. Costs are typically £80-£100.

l Trailers: Trailers come in single or double versions and are fully waterproof, come with sun nets and also give you room to carry your shopping. Costs are typically £80 to £200.

l Cargo bike: Cargo bikes might be relatively expensive, but they’re a great investment if you want to transport several children (and your cargo!) by bike long-term. Prices start at around £650.

l Tag-along trailer bike: Tag-alongs (the back half of a child’s bike attached to the front half of an adult one) allow a child to be towed. They’re great as your child can add some of their own pedal power, or just freewheel and enjoy the ride. Costs are typically £90 to £150.

If you’re travelling onwards to work after the school run here are some tips on how to make the journey as smooth as possible:

Plan and test your route in advance, for example at weekends. Find the quietest routes at www.swindontravel choices.co.uk/jplanner;

Employers often allow flexible working hours, which can help you adjust to the new routine;

Lots of schools have breakfast clubs if you need to drop your children off early to make it into work on time l Form a school commute train by grouping together with other families making the same journey;

On a rainy day consider taking the bus if it’s more practical. Kids will see the bus journey as a treat!

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