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Pedal Power: Celebrating World Bicycle Day

World Bicycle Day, celebrated annually on June 3, is a celebration of a simple yet powerful invention that has transformed transportation, recreation, and exercise across the globe. Established by the United Nations in 2018, this day aims to promote the use of bicycles as a sustainable, healthy, and accessible mode of transportation. 

World Bicycle Day offers an opportunity to engage students in learning while promoting physical activity and environmental consciousness.

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Celebrating World Bicycle Day in the Classroom

Health and Physical Education: Encouraging cycling promotes physical activity, enhancing cardiovascular health and overall well-being. Organize bicycle safety lessons, group rides, or even a mini “Tour de School” event to engage students in active learning.

Environmental Studies: Teaching about the environmental benefits of cycling emphasizes the importance of sustainable transportation. Discussions on reducing carbon footprints and preserving natural resources can be complemented with activities like creating posters advocating for bike-friendly communities. 

Find out when your local Ride Your Bike to School Day is, or create one!

Social Studies: Exploring the history of bicycles and their cultural significance worldwide provides insights into different societies and technological advancements. Students can research famous cyclists, learn about the Tour de France, or study the impact of bicycles on women’s rights and mobility.

Take a look at some of the different ways bicycles are used around the world – from delivering mail in Germany to carrying family members to a ceremony in Vietnam.

Read about the first bicycle, the Penny Farthing. Record three interesting facts.

Math: Incorporating bicycles into math lessons offers opportunities for the practical application of concepts like measurement, estimation, and data analysis. Students can calculate distances, speeds, and gear ratios, or graph trends in bicycle usage over time.

Art and Design: Engaging in bicycle-themed art projects allows students to express their creativity. Design custom bicycle helmets, paint murals promoting cycling, or construct a bicycle model.

Language Arts: Writing prompts related to bicycles spark creativity and develop literacy skills. Students can compose persuasive essays on the benefits of cycling, write descriptive poems about their cycling adventures, or craft narratives from the perspective of a bicycle.

Literature Connections:

Go Bikes Go Inspired by the strong biking culture and community in the Pacific Northwest, this board book features different types of bikes and the diverse people, young and old, who enjoy them. It features bikes children will recognize and some they can imagine, like bikes that wear shoes and bikes that fly. -Amazon

Bicyle Book by Gail Gibbons A brief history of bicycles, as well as information on the different kinds there are, how they work, and the different ways they are used. A list of safety tips for bike riders is included, as well as guidelines for bike maintenance. -Amazon

The Bicycle by Lucas Arnoldussen Do you want to know all about the bicycle? What did the first bike look like? How many kinds of bikes are there? How can you choose the best bike for you? What kinds of cycling sports are there? Who are the most famous racing cyclists? These and many more subjects are discussed in this book. You will also find fun rhymes, a large fold-out page and a mini-quiz, and you learn how to repair a flat tire. By the time you finish this book, you’ll be a real expert on bicycles! -Amazon

Born to Ride: A Story About Bicycle Face Set against the backdrop of the women’s suffrage movement, author Larissa Theule and illustrator Kelsey Garrity-Riley’s picture book is the story of one girl’s courageous quest to prove that she can do everything the boys can do while capturing the universal freedom and accomplishment children experience when riding a bike. -Amazon

Spin: A Novel Based on a (Mostly) True Story by Peter Zheutlin Ride away on a ’round-the-world adventure of a lifetime—with only a change of clothes and a pearl-handled revolver—in this transcendent novel inspired by the life of Annie Londonderry. -Amazon

Pedal, Balance, Steer Annie Londonderry, the First Woman to Cycle Around the World In the 1890s, times were tough, and opportunities for women were few and far between. When mother-of-three Annie Londonderry saw an ad promising $10,000 to a woman who could cycle around the world in a year, something no one thought possible, she decided it was time to learn to ride. She waved goodbye to her family in Boston and set off for Chicago. -Amazon

Pedal Power: How One Community Became the Bicycle Capital of the World by Allan Drummond Pedal Power is a nonfiction picture book about the women and children who led the social movement that made Amsterdam the most bike-friendly city in the world! -Amazon

Bartali’s Bicycle: The True Story of Gino Bartali, Italy’s Secret Hero This 2021 National Jewish Book Award finalist by author Megan Hoyt and illustrator Iacopo Bruno brings to light the inspiring, true story of Gino Bartali, a beloved Italian cyclist and secret champion in the fight for Jewish lives during World War II. -Amazon

The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle by Jude Isabella. A young boy who has outgrown his bicycle, Big Red, decides to donate it to an organization that ships bicycles to Africa. Big Red is sent to Burkina Faso, in West Africa, where it finds a home with Alisetta, who uses it to gain quicker access to her family’s sorghum field and to the market. Then, it finds its way to Haridata, who has a new purpose for the bicycle — renamed Le Grand Rouge — delivering medications and bringing sick people to the hospital. -Amazon

More Ways to Celebrate World Bicycle Day 

  • Decorate the classroom with bicycle-themed posters, banners, and displays to create a festive atmosphere.
  • Invite local cyclists, bike shop owners, or city planners to speak to students about the importance of cycling and bike-friendly initiatives.
  • Organize a bicycle parade around the school or neighborhood, encouraging students to decorate their bikes and ride together in celebration.
  • Partner with community organizations or local law enforcement to conduct bicycle safety workshops, teaching students about helmet use, traffic rules, and hand signals.
  • Teach basic bicycle maintenance skills, such as tire inflation, chain lubrication, and brake adjustment, empowering students to take care of their bikes.

World Bicycle Day offers many ways to integrate learning with fun – promoting physical activity, environmental awareness, and cultural appreciation. 

By embracing the spirit of cycling, educators can inspire students to adopt healthy habits, become stewards of the environment, and explore the world on two wheels. So, let’s pedal towards a brighter future together!