I'm a freelance writer who lives on the Bellarine Peninsula. I enjoy finding new things to see and do in the beautiful area that I live in.
You only have to pick up a newspaper or watch the evening news to hear the alarming statistics about our growing population - and when I say growing, I don't mean the amount of people who live in our country. It seems that the further into this century we progress, the larger our waistlines are growing and the heavier we are getting. Australia's obesity statistics are close to rivalling those of 'fat' nations like America and yet, as a nation, we are neglecting to do anything about our failing health and increasing weight problems.
The Bicycle Network, a charity that promotes the health of the community, is trying to do their bit, however, to change these negative attitudes towards health and fitness. Since 2006, the group has held National Ride2School Day, an event that encourages school-age children to ride their bike to school in a conscious effort to promote healthy living. In recent years, they have also encouraged skating, running, walking and riding scooters to school, providing more transport options for those who are unable to ride a bike. In doing so, they hope that students will be able to learn the importance of regular physical exercise.
The benefits of riding to school go much further than just fitness however. According to the Bicycle Network's website, positive aspects include less traffic congestion in school zones, improved concentration times throughout the day by students, better social skill development as students travel together, better self-sufficiency and environmental awareness.
So it seems that there are plenty of reasons to get on your bike, but don't feel discouraged if you would like to participate and live a fair distance from your school. The charity encourages cycling to school, but they also understand that sometimes this is not a practical method of transport for people that have to travel a long way. For these people, they encourage driving part of the way and cycling the rest, so that you receive some of the benefits of riding to school, without tiring yourself out.
National Ride2School Day is a worthwhile initiative and one that many schools highly encourage. According to the Bicycle Network, over 140,000 students across Australia participated in the 2012 event, and they hope to increase this figure for 2013. It's easy to get involved - schools can register for official participation through the Bicycle Network website - so go on, dust off those wheels, be healthy, and ride to school on March 22.