Young bikers ready to hit the road

Willows students encouraged to cycle to class for Bike to School Week

École Willows students join one of two bike trains riding to the school  to celebrate Bike to Work Week back in 2013. Students will again be cycling to class on Friday for the end of Bike to School Week.

École Willows students join one of two bike trains riding to the school to celebrate Bike to Work Week back in 2013. Students will again be cycling to class on Friday for the end of Bike to School Week.

A pair of parades will mark the end of Bike to School Week.

“There are 600 children at Willows school and they used to have programming to encourage walking and cycling to school, but when the federal funding disappeared they stopped doing it,” said Oak Bay Coun. Michelle Kirby.

With no more walking and wheeling Wednesdays with stickers celebrating getting to school “in active mode” the PAC and Oak Bay Kiwanis organized and fundraised to purchase and install 10 bike racks boosting the school’s number to 16.

“Now the school has adequate bike racks and it really sends a message to kids that we want to encourage kids to ride to school,” Kirby said.

They also reintroduced the Bike Roadeos and instituted the now-annual bike trains to Ecole Willows Elementary.

“The bike train is a celebration and an opportunity for Oak Bay Police and us to connect with kids, but it also ensures the parents feel their kids can get safely to school,” Kirby said.

To celebrate the finale of Bike to School Week May 11 to 15 there are two bike trains, led by the Oak Bay Police, Mayor Nils Jensen and Oak Bay councillors Kirby and Tom Croft. The trains will follow last year’s routes, there are maps online, picking up kids all the way to Willows School.

“The reason we have so much celebration and encouragement and promotion during Bike to Work Week is that people need to be encouraged to change their habbits and patterns,” Kirby said. “It’s a wonderful incentive program and it’s fun and exciting and gets people realizing it’s not that hard to get to school by bike. I’m seeing spillover, for the rest of the year kids are cycling to school, and that’s the whole goal of the program, to encourage kids to ride all year long.”

The South Oak Bay Train will leave Monterey Middle School at 8:15 a.m. and the North Oak Bay Train will leave Allenby Park at 8:15 a.m., both to arrive well in time for the 8:42 a.m. bell. Both trains are scheduled to run on Friday, May 15.

“It’s also really fun. It feels like a parade, all the kids are ringing their bells and talking and singing. It’s a really fun event,” Kirby said.

Oak Bay Police and the Willows PAC will host a Bike Roadeo that day as well with North Park Bikes on hand to do bike checks and tune ups

Bike train routes

Allenby Park to Willows  http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/fullscreen/95987809/

Monterey to Willows http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/fullscreen/95985383/