When Eugene School District 4J realized that many older elementary and middle schoolers did not know how to ride a bike, they partnered with the Safe Routes to School Program to offer “learn-to-ride” opportunities primarily targeted towards K-1 students. In fall of 2022, EEF granted nearly $6,000 to the district to purchase a fleet of new bikes and helmets for the learn-to-ride program.Learning to ride a bike is not only fun, it encourages healthy exercise habits which have been linked to increased happiness, mental health, and academic success. Biking also offers students who live in the “walk zone” (within 1-1.5 miles of their school) and are not served by school buses an alternative mode of getting to school. Instructors at the learn-to-ride program incorporate elements of Social Emotional Learning into their coaching to help students deal with frustration, issues with sharing, and other challenges that arise while learning a new skill.In this school year alone, the bikes served nearly 1,000 4J students and hundreds more at community wide learn-to-ride events.
“Having more appropriate equipment has improved their skill development, increased their enjoyment and engagement, boosted their self-esteem and confidence, and enhanced safety and inclusivity within the program. These resources have not only facilitated a more effective learning experience but have also contributed to a positive and inclusive atmosphere where students can thrive and excel in their bike-riding journey.”
-Sarah Mazze, Safe Routes to School Program Coordinator