On November 2nd bicycle advocates in Fairfax County, Virginia came together for the second Fairfax Bike Summit hosted by the Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB). The discussion focused on Tysons Corner, the rapidly redeveloping portion of the county which is reinventing itself as a multimodal neighborhood.
I was honored to be presented with the FABB Appreciation Award for my work in the county on Safe Routes to School. I am really proud to be part of the movement in this county. And while my name is on the award, my work is supported by a group of dedicated advocates and parents who work tirelessly to ensure kids can safely walk and bicycle to school and in their community. The school system, the 11th largest in the county, recently furthered their support of Safe Routes to School with a successful grant application for a Safe Routes to School coordinator. The momentum in is moving forward fast and I thank the Fairfax community for embracing Safe Routes to School.
And as I could still feel the excitement from the honor, I attended a session and met third-grader Aurora Eddy. She reminded me that even when the going gets tough, this is why I do what I do. She bikes the 5 miles to school each day with her mom and little brother. They have a saying in their house: “there is no bad weather, just bad gear.”
Aurora was on a panel about biking to school and with kids. She let us know that biking gets her places in a really fun way, that sometimes you see a very cool bug on the way to school, that riding up hills makes her feel big and strong and that there should be a bike center near the school kiss and ride so the kids that bike can meet up and hang out. Her final message was to parents- show the kids that you care about what they are doing when they are learning to ride a bike and they will be more into riding a bike.
When I accepted my award, Jeff Anderson, parent Safe Routes to School coordinator, made me promise to never drive my son to school. And to Aurora, I promise that when he starts to ride a bike, I will show him that I care so he can find cool bugs on the way to school too.
This blog is cross-posted from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership blog.