A bike rack!
It’s a small thing, but it had a huge impact.
My 4th grader rides a bicycle to school in Newport Beach, and it is wonderful for him. And it has been shown to be wonderful for all kids, increasing their ability to concentrate for up to four hours after they arrive at school by bicycle.
The roads he would have to ride on are exceptionally dangerous arterials with distracted drivers racing each other to the freeway at 60MPH+ and gardeners parked in the bike lanes, so he obliges his mother and me and takes to the sidewalk.
Which leaves a sour taste in his mouth, as he knows I ride on the road. But he understands. He knows it is unjust, but he understands.
What has been more frustrating for him over the last few years is the “cage” where he and the few other (cool? smart? happy? lucky?) kids who get to school under their own steam are supposed to store their bikes.
It really is just a cage. A roofless chain-link fence box where bikes are meant to be deposited, sometimes leaning against the side, sometimes just in a heap.
Nothing like the organized landscaped parking lot, where each car gets its own painted slot.
Lo and behold when he got to school on Monday he found a beautiful bike rack in the cage. He really wasn’t sure what it was at first! It’s not as if there are many around town…at least not in useful places.
In went his bike and on came the smile!
Tonight he wrote a very nice note to the principal of his school, thanking him for the bike rack.