Hundreds of children are expected to descend on Ballarat’s streets as they ride to school on Friday morning.
National Ride2School Day is a Bicycle Network initiative aiming to address the decline in physical activity among young people by encouraging pupils to ride, skate, scoot or walk to school.
Bicycle Network spokesperson Anthea Hargreaves said the early morning exercise could improve classroom performance.
“Children need 60 minutes of exercise a day to stay healthy and the easiest way to do this is by simply subbing out time spent sitting in the car or bus with a bike ride to school,” she said.
“Studies have shown that those who get active on the way to school arrive more alert, focused and ready to learn.”
Eighty per cent of students rode or walked to school in the 1970s, but in recent times that figure has dropped to about 25 per cent, according to the Bicycle Network.
“We see great results from schools that participate in our Ride2School program, but there’s still work to do,” Ms Hargreaves said.
One of the schools participating is Pleasant Street Primary School. Teacher Melissa Pearce said the school had promoted the Ride2School campaign ever since it started.
“We are always trying to take part in initiatives that encourage healthy living for our students,” she said.
“The children love that little bit of independence that comes with being able to get to school by themselves. But they also come to school more alert and ready to learn if they’ve had that little bit of exercise and a healthy breakfast.”
Ms Pearce said there were environmental benefits to riding to school by getting cars off the road, and it also presented an opportunity to teach pupils about road safety.
The school will have a meeting point at the Lake Wendouree Adventure Playground, where pupils from all year levels, teachers and parents will be able to ride to school together.
Other schools taking part in the initiative include St Alipius Parish School and Caledonian Primary School.
The predicted sunny weather will make for perfect cycling conditions.