Wow, what a busy start to Ride2School day for Redcliffe Primary School! The day started with a long line-up of bikes, scooters, and skateboards waiting to register (for the raffle) and collect Bike Week goodies (e.g., stickers, badges, stationary, wristbands, etc.).
We had so many bikes and scooters that our bike shed was overflowing (we had teachers re-parking bikes outside the shed to make space!). We counted approximately 104 student bikes and scooters. The students were so excited and by looking at the number of bikes and scooters, we knew we had a fun day ahead!
The first activity for the day was the Skills Track (a bike track the students helped create). Students rode their bikes through various obstacles (e.g., sand, board walks made from recycled timber, tarmac, a see-saw) to help develop their bike handling skills and for general enjoyment (who doesn't enjoy riding over bumps?). Before any riding took place we had a 'trail walk' so students could see all the obstacles they would be facing and pick the safest way to tackle them. All riders tried the obstacles, with or without teacher assistance. It was awesome to hear the students' squeals of laughter after tackling each obstacle. We even had our Principal try out the track on his e-bike (the students thought this was cheating)!
We had over 90 riders use the track that day (almost 1/3 of our school!). One of the reasons behind their enthusiasm for the day was because the students had the opportunity to compete (for the first time) at the WA Smarter Than Smoking Mountain Bike Championships in 2018. Many of our riders wanted to join the team after seeing the success of their peers last year!
The Skills Track was available for several hours with much success! Just before lunch we had our Ride2School day raffle. We drew five random raffle tickets, with the winning students selecting a prize from the Bike Week prize box. We had multiple sponsors from the school community who provided the prizes (e.g., helmets, vests, bells, locks. etc). We'd like to thank Belmont City Council for their partnership with us this year.
Now it was time for the main event: The Tour of Redcliffe Bike Race. After lunch, students gathered with their bikes on the oval to be part of the race. We had two categories for the race: years one to three, and years four to six. This year we had a huge turn-out for the race, with many new race participants compared with previous years. Students who didn't have bikes were also welcome to participate by running alongside the bikes (like you see in Tour de France). Our Principal raced in the year one to three race on his e-bike, helping students with training wheels!
Following the race completion it was time for the scooters and skaters to show their skills (they were so eager they thought they been forgotten and couldn't wait for their turn!). The scooters and skaters went through an obstacle course on the quadrangle which was nice and smooth for them.
From the students' point of view, the day was a huge success! We had so many participating including those who didn't ride. From the school's point of view, it was encouraging to see so many students riding and to have such enthusiastic students (and parents!).
Prior to bike week we have been taking surveys of how students travelled to school (e.g., public transport, rode, car, walked). On average, we had approximately 66% of students driving to school, approximately 15% of students riding and walking. This trend was similar to 2017 statistics. On Ride2School day we had a huge number of students riding to school (42%) and even saw an increase in students walking to school (20%). Travel by car had decreased down to 37%.
Redcliffe Primary School's challenge is now to find ways to increase the number of students riding and walking to school. Do we open a Skills Track or Pump Track for students to use? Do we run raffles to win bike/s? How can we engage with community riding groups? Should we run more events like this throughout the year? So many questions!
Overall, it was a great day (as always) with much smiling, laughter, and exercise! Looking forward to Ride2School day in 2020.