June 2nd through June 10th is Colchester's 12th Annual Bike Week. This year Bike Week is full of free events organized by Colchester Recreation. You can join many free activities such as the Spot The Bike Contest! Ten polka-dotted bicycles have been placed throughout the county. Now it's our turn to try and SPOT The Bike! If you spot one of these decorated bicycles, make sure to snap a photo and make note of its location. If you spot all 10 bikes, you can enter to win a great prize! To enter the contest, be sure to email your findings to email@example.com!
In Colchester County, many schools are getting involved with Bike Week, too! Colchester Recreation is partnering with seven schools and communities to host bike rodeos. Some will happen during the school day, while others will happen after school. This year's bike rodeo partners are Cobequid Consolidated Elementary School, Truro Elementary School, Winding River Consolidated School, Upper Stewiacke Elementary School, Tatamagouche Elementary School, Brookfield Sportsplex, and the Colchester Christian Academy.
Schools that participate in bike rodeos are helping students learn bicycle skills and share a fun way to have an active lifestyle. Biking is beneficial for physical and mental health and is also a great active mode of transportation. Bike rodeos help learners tune-up their bikes, fit their helmets properly, and learn the rules of the road, including hand signals. With a strong foundation in safety, learning experiences like bike rodeos can help students learn to bike to school instead of asking an adult for a drive, which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from those daily car trips to school for drop-offs and pick-ups.
According to The Keith Group at Harvard University, on average, driving an automobile creates 300 grams of carbon dioxide equivalents per kilometre of driving. If a student lives within 1.6 km of their elementary school or 3.6 km of their junior high or high school, they are within walking distance, as per the 2014 Student Transportation Governance Policy. If an elementary student walks or bikes 3.2 km round trip to and from school each day, no carbon emissions would be created. If that elementary student is driven to school, a vehicle would be driving 16 km per week, about 64 km per month, and about 640 km each year. According to the estimate from the Keith Group, those car trips would emit about 192 kg of carbon dioxide equivalents. That means adding emissions that could have been avoided while implementing a fun activity that would benefit the well-being of the student! For junior high and high school students who would walk as much as 3.6 km each way, driving that distance would emit up to 432 kg carbon dioxide equivalents. Being green and energy efficient doesn’t just mean being efficient with energy at home or at school, it also means making green choices for transportation. If active transportation is an option, it’s likely to be the best option for the Earth and the healthiest option overall.
Students look forward to bike rodeos because biking skills are valuable and aren’t something taught in the classroom. Students gain confidence in their biking skills, which inspires them to get outside on their bicycles all the time! There are great organizations in our province who can help provide a bike for a student who might not otherwise have access to one, such as the United Way’s Bikes for Kids program.
If your school isn’t scheduled to take part in these Bike Week events, why not plan your own Bike Rodeo? Biking has so many benefits, for our health, and for the Earth. Bicycles take a lot less energy to make compared to a car, they don't run on fossil fuel, and bikes allow us to better enjoy the journey.
This Bike Week and over the summer, let's get out on our bikes and share the fun with friends and family!
Engagement Officer, Northern NS