Image from Freiker.org
Now that most schools are back in session (or will be next week), parents are having to deal with dropping their kids off at school before they head to work. Not only does this add more time to your morning routine, but you end up using more gasoline and often add frustration to the start of your day, etc. The solution? Have your kid become a Freiker!
What’s a Freiker? Freiker stands for FREquent bIKER. Basically it is a kid who instead of being driven to school, they take their bike or even walk. The Freiker Program was started about 5 years ago by a dad, who after unsuccessfully trying to convince his kids to ride their bikes to school (less than a mile from their home), decided to offer them small prizes if they would take their bikes. The kids enjoyed it so much, he figured it would be a great thing for other kids to do and the program has been growing ever since.
In Feb 2009, Freiker reached a milestone by having over 100,000 “kid-powered rides” logged. They calculated that out to be over 150,000 miles, over 3.5 million calories burned, nearly 8,000 gallons of gasoline saved and 150,000 tons of CO2 prevented. As of today, there have been over 138,000 rides logged.
One of the cool things about this program is that whole schools can get involved. A school installs a “Freikometer”, which is a solar-powered, internet-enabled RFID reader. This allows kids’ rides to school to be automatically tracked and reported. Each trip a kid makes is tallied and at the end of the year, they are rewarded with a party and prizes for their rides.
Here are some of the great features of the Freiker Program:
- Biking or riding to school gets kids exercising. Rather than sitting in the car or riding the bus, they get exercise by riding or walking to/from school.
- Helps make kids more independent when they don’t NEED to rely on their parents or the bus to get to school.
- If you are a parent, you know how many cars sit and idle outside of school to drop off or pick up kids. If more kids ride/bike to school this means less congestion and better air quality around the school.
- Since the RFID tags are placed on the kids’ helmet and rides aren’t tracked unless they have their helmet, this promotes safety and helmet use.
- It’s a great activity not only kids, but their parents and the school can support and get involved in.
And don’t forget, October 7th is International Walk to School Day in the U.S. Therefore, now is a great time to get your kid started on walking/biking to school as part of the Freiker program. Talk to your kid’s school about getting involved.
You do your part by car-pooling, riding your bike to work, using a proven fuel additive, taking public transportation, etc. so please get your kids involved too. The Freiker program sets a great example as it gets kids exercise through biking or walking to school, it’s environmentally-friendly, saves gasoline, lowers emissions and it’s fun!