Here’s a guide on setting up your own school cycle bus, courtesy of cycling.scot. It is a hugely rewarding way to get more children active and reduce congestion in your area.
How we went about it and created the first Kenilworth Cycle Bus:
This idea came about when Aurélie and Adam Tranter joined the Kenilworth Cycling Forum.
As part of a brainstorming session to improve cycling facilities and community engagement in our town, we offered the idea of a cycle bus to school, and decided to take it on as a personal project which fits with many of the things we stand for: improving air quality, increase children’s access to regular exercise, increase community cohesion, reduce traffic congestion, increase children’s ownership of their local environment, improve road safety skills.
When we first mentioned the idea amongst our school community, we received some overwhelming support from parents, our school’s Headteacher Mrs Ritchie, the PTFA (Parents, Teachers and Friends Association) and very importantly: the children!
Some of our town, district and county councillors were a big help. After some initial reservations from our local Police force with regard to road safety, and the County Council with regards to Highways, we were able to fully answer their concerns. Again big thanks here to Cycling UK for their advice and to British Cycling who invited us to attend their Ride Leaders Training Level 1 (which we passed!).
We currently have 3 Ride Leaders on the bus: Aurélie Tranter, Adam Tranter and James Arbuckle. Aurélie and Adam are also First Aiders and are DBS checked.
After completing the Ride Leaders Training, digesting the Highway Code, planning the safest route to school and practicing / timing the route, we launched the Saint Augustine Cycle Bus Trial on Friday 11 October 2019. We chose Fridays as there is less traffic and less congestion on those days.
We feel very proud to have run the Cycle Bus every single Friday during term time since the 11 October 2019 to date, leading an average of 11 to 24 children to school (aged 4 to 9) with their parents and carers safely and arriving to school on time.
Our route uses quieter roads over 4.8 miles in total. We invested in some hi-viz tabards for the children and thanks to Proviz, our 3 Ride Leaders were given a Switch jacket each to wear which is both hi-viz and reflective.
We run regular bike training sessions at our school at weekends (led by parents volunteers) so that we can assess the children and ensure road safety and group riding skills are practiced – plus it’s fun! We also had our own Cycle Bus badges made for every child who takes part in the Cycle Bus. We opened an online shop where we sell Cycle Bus t-shirts and bags to profit our school’s PTFA.
Thank you to all the parents who join us every week, rain or shine!
Special thanks to the Kenilworth Cycling Forum, in particular, Cllrs Andrew Milton, Richard Dickson and Rob Barry for their proactive and continued support. Also our fantastic group of volunteers / helpers who are all experienced cyclists and kindly wake up early on Fridays to accompany the bus to school: Dean Tranter from BikeWrench in Coventry, Sharon Maxted, Hazel Lewis, Mike Vaughan from Mike Vaughan Cycles in Kenilworth, Cllr Peter Jones, Cllr Alix Dearing, Cllr John Dearing and Ray Tweedale.