A parent’s idea initiates a community event to celebrate cycling to school
Students on a ride at the Fill A Bike Rack Day event

Habits that are instilled in early childhood stay with you throughout life. Fun memories of cycling to school are still what drives his active habits, according to Thunder Bay-based parent Scott Read. His keen interest in active transportation resulted in infrastructure changes in the city’s C.D. Howe Public School and also the creation of an annual Fill-A-Bike-Rack-Day which brings the community together to celebrate cycling! 

“When I was in school, I had a lot of fun riding my bike to school and going around the neighbourhood on bikes with friends. A year or so ago, I realized that there was only one bike rack at the school two of my daughters attend (C.D. Howe Public School) and I raised it at the parent council. The school decided to get new bike racks and we planned to host an event to promote the usage of the new facility. This is how we connected with Kelsey Agnew from EcoSuperior who put the event together along with the school,” says Read. 

The event materialized on October 21, 2021, and saw 40 youngsters riding their bikes around the community along with school staff and guests! The students also learned about road safety as well as the existing Walk or Wheel Thunder Bay initiative. A free bike tune-up was arranged on site in partnership with Community Spokes, a DIY bike repair space, and prizes were distributed among students as an incentive to develop the habit of using active transportation to school. With the event turning out to be a success, the organizers are hoping to make this an annual event. 

On a personal level, Read says that he and his wife always strive to use active modes of transport while dropping their daughters to school even though work schedules sometimes clash with school timing. “The outdoor time in the morning before school definitely gets them ready for school and changes their energy levels. You see a considerable difference between weekdays when they’re biking or walking to school and weekends when they spend a lot of time indoors,” says Read, who works at the Kingfisher Outdoor Education Centre of the Lakehead District School Board.  

Read believes that more events like Fill-A-Bike-Rack-Day would help build a spirit of biking which would motivate more kids to engage in the activity. This parent also hopes that there will be more infrastructure developments in the city that would enable kids living further away from schools to use active and safe routes to school in the future. 

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