The author's daugther, above, is already looking forward to Bike to School Week next year.
Bike to School Week 2017 is Becoming a Hallmark Bike Month Event
dandyhorse contributor Sonya Allin says Bike to School celebrations this year were better than ever due to more bike lanes downtown
Bike to School day has become a ritual at our downtown TDSB school (ALPHA Alternative.) This year 20 families participated in the annual group trek from Trinity Bellwoods park to the school gates. The trip has become something to look forward to for the families of ALPHA, and it offers a welcome occasion to reflect on the growth and change in our commute and community.
In 2014 our school celebrated the day with a group cycle from the park and down Adelaide Street. At that time Adelaide was free of bike lanes; both kids and families had to negotiate traffic and potholes in order to make it to school. This all changed in 2015, when bike lanes were installed on both Adelaide and Richmond to the delight of school families, particularly those living on the west side of town. And in 2016 the Richmond and Adelaide lanes were extended east, allowing east end families to participate in a way they had not been able to before.
Such changes in cycling infrastructure have encouraged participation not only by out school but by others, as is evidenced by the growth of the bike to school event. Last year saw more than 300 schools involved, which was more than double the number that had participated in the previous year. This year more than 400 schools registered; next year is sure to see more.
And as the city and its embrace of cycling has changed, so have we. When we started celebrating bike to school, my daughter Sibi was a toddler and could fit very comfortably in our family’s Yepp Maxi bicycle seat. She’s bigger now; today she is more commonly found travelling in our upgraded Yepp Junior. And this year she was extremely happy to cycle on her own; she made it all the way from her friend’s on Dupont to the city core. It was her longest urban bike ride to date.
Given the planned extension for the West Toronto RailPath, next year’s bike to school day will hopefully see us safely, independently and joyfully commuting all the way from our Junction home to ALPHA. My daughter is already excited for this next trip; it’s marked on our calendar. With similar infrastructure improvements across Toronto, we hope that even more families will be able to participate with us.
Photos and story by Sonya Allin.
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