Tomorrow, May 9, is the first annual Bike to School Day. It's all part of National Bike Month, and an estimated 1,000 schools are expected to participate around the country—far more kids than those who ride on a regular basis. According to the National Center for Safe Routes to School, 48 percent of K-8th grade students walked or bicycled to school in 1969, but by 2009 that number had dropped to only 13 percent.
That’s a pretty startling drop any way you slice it, but when you consider the rise in both childhood obesity and carbon emissions, it’s downright depressing. Factor in the immeasurable boosts to kids’ confidence, independence, and creativity that getting to school under their own power can bring them, and it’s easy to lament the loss of one of childhood’s greatest perks.