Let’s face it: Charlemagne is on the outskirts of town, not centrally-located, and on a hill to boot! As such, it would be very easy to dismiss walk/bike to school day as a pie-in-the-sky impossible dream. That’s understandable! But despite the location challenges, there are ways we can participate in this national event both on the day itself, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 8th and every school day as well.

Here’s some information and suggestions about how you can take part in National Walk/Bike/Carpool to School day and add alternative transportation to your Charlemagne commuting repertoire.

Bike/Walk/Carpool/Bus to School
Although the official national event only designates walking and biking, we wanted to make our event more inclusive and doable given our unique location. Thus, we are adding the categories of “carpooling” and “busing” to our event.

This means any child who carpools or buses to school that day (in addition to those who bike or walk) will be eligible to be entered in a drawing for fabulous prizes.

Is there a neighbor you pass everyday who is loading their child/children into a vehicle to transport to Charlemagne? Why not approach them and ask about possible carpool scenarios? Perhaps one person does drop off and the other pick up? Or you trade days? If some days don’t work, think about a “one-day-a week” or as-needed plan instead.

Carpooling can be beneficial not only in reducing greenhouse gasses and relieving carpool stress and strain from the drop off/pick up site, but it’s also great for community building; it helps kids make new friends and widens the net of support available to families who, with carpooling, have an additional option for getting kids to and from school!

If you live near a bus line, take this opportunity to check out how you can hook up with buses that drop off at the end of West Amazon and Martin street (bus #28) or Fox Hollow (bus #73.) Students ride free and reduced-rate monthly bus passes are available for adults. Find out how you could reduce or eliminate your driving hassle and gas bill!

Bike/Walk/Carpool/Bus to school WEEK
Although the official day is WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 8, we are extending the one-day national event to the whole week. Perhaps Wednesdays are the worst possible day for you to consider alternative transportation to school but Monday or Friday or another day would work fine. In that case, any child who walks/bikes/carpools or buses to school ANY DAY THE WEEK OF OCTOBER 6-10 will be eligible to enter a drawing for a prize.

Walk/bike from a different location.
Okay, so you live off north River Road or on the other side of Hendricks Park or outside of town all together and biking or walking would take literally hours. If you live too far from school to make biking or walking a reasonable choice, consider these other “cheater” options:

  • Park your vehicle and walk or bike from Church of the Harvest, on Fox Hollow and OR Emerald Valley retirement community on West Amazon. We have gotten permission from both of those facilities to park and ride from their parking lots. So get a group of friends together and have a walking or biking brigade to school from those parking lots that day, week, once a week, or every day! A bike brigade from Tugman Park or other locations is also an option.
  • Bike to the end of West Amazon (which is completely flat!) and walk the bike up the back way, past the school garden and though the play ground.
  • Drop off your child by car and pick up by tagalong. When my son was in kindergarten and 1st grade and not yet up to the rigors of biking and I was not up for biking him up the hill on a tagalong (I have the utmost of respect for people who can pull that off!!), I would drop off by car in the morning and pick up by tagalong bike at the end of the day.
  • Drop off your child by car, leave his/her bike at school and pick up by bike. On days I am pressed for time or running behind, or it’s raining but the forecast is for clearing skies or for a host of other reasons, I drop off by car, leave my son’s bike at school and pick up by bike. On days when we have after-school activities, I reverse this and we bike to school but I pick up by car and put his bike in the back.

Yes, Charlemagne may have a few seeming strikes against it in the location department, but given the intelligence, resourcefulness, creativity and ingenuity of Charlemagne students and families, if you would like to try to incorporate at least some biking, carpooling, busing or walking into your drop off or pick up routine, hopefully you can find a way to transform your bike/walk/carpool/bus to school desire from an impossible dream into an occasional or regular reality!

For more information about bike/walk/carpool/bus to school day OR if you would be willing to lead a walking or biking brigade from Church of the Harvest or Emerald Valley Retirement Center or somewhere else that day or week, you can contact Char at: heitman@uoregon.edu, or 541-514-5111.