This week's BWL column, written by Tessa LeSage, shares the joy of biking to school with her 1st grader and offers tips with other parents about walking and biking to school. Be inspired and give it try! [Note: photos below did not appear in printed article due to space constraints.]
News-Press "Go Coastal" Section, Oct. 2, 2014
Today, my first-grader is assigned to Tanglewood Elementary School.
We chose Tanglewood because it’s an awesome school, but also because we
live within the two-mile preference proximity — meaning we can ride
bikes to school every day.
Biking to school with car lines and
school assignment is intimidating. On the other hand, it means no idling
in a car line or putting your child on a bus for an eternity. Despite
these dreaded aspects of local school these days, sharing the road with
rushing automobiles and school buses is enough to make most avoid it all
Now we want more people to join us. It would be
safer and less expensive for everyone if more of us got out of our cars
and went to school the old-fashioned way.
Walk to School Day is
Wednesday, Oct. 8, and provides an opportunity to try walking or riding
to school. Here are some tips we picked up along the way:
• Identify the route:
We chose a route we wouldn’t drive. It crosses more roads but allows
more time on less-traveled streets. This is where the stress goes away
and the fun stuff happens.
• Practice: We spent the summer
practicing our route, preparing for four potential interactions with
vehicles on the way to school one-way, and building endurance for that
1-mile ride. We reviewed the rules of the road, hand signals, and we
added a “3-feet it’s the law” sticker to our bikes so drivers understand
how to react to us.
• Prepare for tradeoffs: We leave
extra early to avoid traffic. My kids know it’s a tradeoff to get up
earlier in the morning, but riding is worth it. Others include toting
her belongings and her little brother on my bike so she can focus on
• Work with your school: Talk to the administration
and teachers about riding and where and how to secure the bike. In our
situation, the bike is in a locked gate most of the time, but we still
put a lock on it to be safe.
— BikeWalkLee is a community
coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets
in Lee County — streets that are designed, built, operated and
maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians,
bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities.
Information, statistics and background online at BikeWalkLee.org.
• Sunday, Oct. 11:
Fort Myers Cops and Joggers 5K. Centennial Park, downtown Fort Myers.
Race starts at 7:30 p.m., and proceeds will benefit the Fort Myers
Police Department Fallen Officer Memorial Fund and the Brotherhood Ride.
Registration: $20 adult, $15 youth on or before Oct. 9.
• Saturday, Oct. 18: 6th annual Sanibel
10K 4 F.I.S.H. Starts 7:30 a.m. at Sanibel Community House 2173
Periwinkle Way, Sanibel. Registration $30 by Oct. 11, $35 through Oct.
17 and $40 day of. (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
• Sunday, Oct. 19: Rocktoberfest
10 mile race. North Collier Regional Park, 15000 Livingston Road,
Naples. Registration $55, students $45; starts at 7 a.m.
Cycling and other events:
• Saturday, Oct. 11:
Project 10 Ride 4 Wishes. Cape Harbour, Cape Coral. 15-, 30-, and
62-mile rides. $35 registration, raises funds for Make-A-Wish Southern
• Sunday, Oct. 12: Trek Breast Cancer Awareness Ride. 10-, 15- and 25- mile rides. From The Bicycle Center, 3795 Tamiami Trail,
Port Charlotte. $30 before Sept. 1, $40 after.
• Sunday, Oct. 26:
Fifth annual Tour de North Port. 15-, 35- and 65-mile rides that begin
and end at the Imagine School, Upper Campus, 2757 Sycamore St., North
Port. Full support, trick-or-treat rest stops. Breakfast and lunch
offered. Starts at 7 a.m.; $40 each, $10 under age 10, group discounts