A Teacher Started a "Bike Bus" So Kids Could Cycle To School Together

Parents and teachers have noticed the students are more attentive in class on days when they bike.

Sam Balto, a.k.a. Coach Balto, started a bike bus so his students could cycle to school, and in just five months, it’s more than doubled in size. “This year, we've had a ride that was 170 students, which is over 30% of the school community,” Balto told NowThis.

The bike bus allows students to skip traveling by car or school bus and instead hop on their bikes to ride to school together on a designated cycling route.

Balto started teaching physical education at Alameda Elementary School in Portland, Oregon, last year. His idea for a bike bus began as an Earth Day initiative.


He says the initiative was a huge success, with 75 students participating. With support from parents and the community, he decided to continue it. The bike bus is in action every Wednesday morning. Balto and the community have been sharing the progress on TikTok, where it’s gone viral.

The students aren't the only ones enjoying it. The adults in the school community are seeing some real benefits, as well. “Our principal has definitely mentioned the parents and teachers noticed that on bike bus mornings, the kids get into the building so much quicker because they've kind of had that time to socialize, to get their wiggles out,” Balto said. “And by the time they get to school, they're ready for the day.”

Research has found that kids who get physical activity perform better academically and are less disruptive in class.

Balto said he was inspired by other bike buses around the world. And while his initiative is just for students at the elementary school, Balto says anyone can create their own version. “This is something that can be done in high school and as adults,” said Balto. “And it's just a great way to build connection with the people in your community. And it's a great way to get physical activity.”

A bike bus is also a great way to teach people about making sustainable choices, Balto said. “Solutions to climate change don't have to be depressing and unenjoyable,” he explained. “The bike bus is climate action. We are removing fossil fuel trips every single day that we participate in a bike bus. Those are less cars that are on the road. And so we can do that and have a really fun time.”