Bik­ing to school to learn bet­ter (and win prizes)

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - NEWS -

“I think it’s a pos­i­tive way to start your day,” says Lisa Clarke about cy­cling to work. Clarke is a learn­ing re­source teacher at Franklin Road Ele­men­tary School in Hamil­ton. Last year, she shared her love of bike com­mut­ing with her stu­dents af­ter a friend told her about Bike to School Week, a ini­tia­tive launched in 2015 through the Smart Com­mute pro­gram by Metrolink, a south­ern On­tario trans­porta­tion agency.

Clarke, who is part of the healthac­tion team at her school, has been mo­ti­vated to learn more about the cor­re­la­tion be­tween walk­ing or rid­ing to school, and learn­ing. “I think it gets rid of a lot of wig­gles, and makes stu­dents more cen­tred and fo­cused by the time they get to school,” she says.

In or­ga­niz­ing her school’s ac­tiv­i­ties – which won a Bike to School Week award for the Hamil­ton area this past Novem­ber – Clarke en­listed lo­cal non-profit New Hope Com­mu­nity Bikes to con­duct work­shops. Stu­dents who rode to school were awarded with stick­ers and raf­fle tick­ets for prizes drawn at the end of the week. The Grade 1 math pro­gram had stu­dents count the num­ber of bi­cy­cles each day and graph the re­sults – rid­er­ship more than tripled through­out the week.

Clarke’s tweets also at­tracted the at­ten­tion of Charles Burke of Start The Cy­cle, who do­nated hel­mets, locks and a bike rack. For those with no bike at all, he set up his mo­bile “bike-lend­ing li­brary” across the street from the school, al­low­ing kids to sign one out (with hel­met, lock and com­puter) on a weekly ba­sis. The school is reg­is­tered again this year for Bike to School Week, which runs May 29 to June 2. Clarke wants to re­ward kids with raf­fle tick­ets for get­ting a friend to com­mute by bike – bonus tick­ets if they get a teacher, she says with a laugh.— Tara­nolan

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