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D.C. Public Schools Will Teach Every Kid How to Ride a Bike

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In Washington D.C., cycling will now be a part of the elementary school curriculum. This year, all second graders in the city’s public schools are learning how to ride a bike in phys ed. 

The city already incorporates bike safety education into its curriculum as part of Safe Routes to School, a national nonprofit that encourages biking and walking to school. Instructors from a local bike advocacy nonprofit come and teach the kids basic safety skills to help them bike to school safely—but the instructors began to notice that large groups of kids didn’t just need safety training, they needed more basic instruction on how to ride a bike in the first place.

Learning to ride a bike is generally something you do outside of school, with your parents or family, so if you don’t have access to a bike, a safe place to ride, and a relative with the time and inclination to teach you, it’s easy to grow up never learning. 

So the city decided to make bike riding a part of D.C. Public Schools' Cornerstones curriculum, implemented across the entire school district. The D.C. Department of Transportation bought 475 sturdy bikes that will be transferred between schools across the district. The program is designed so that a quarter of the district’s elementary schools will have enough bikes and helmets at any one time so that each second grader will get his or her own bike during P.E. After a few weeks, the bikes will be rotated to a different school. Another 475 bikes are on order, so that eventually half the elementary schools in the district will have them at once. 

Since some second graders already know how to ride, those kids will have a chance to do obstacle courses or otherwise improve their riding skills, while those who have never been on a bike will have more specialized instruction to learn the basics. The universal bike education initiative will also put the city’s expanding bike share program within reach for more people. The goal is to give more people in D.C. the ability to get around town in a healthy, environmentally friendly, cost-efficient way. 

[h/t: CityLab]

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George Barratt-Jones, Vimeo
This Crafty Bicycle Can Knit a Scarf in 5 Minutes
George Barratt-Jones, Vimeo
George Barratt-Jones, Vimeo

Knitting can be a time-consuming, meticulous task, but it doesn’t need to be. At least not if you’re George Barratt-Jones. As The Morning News spotted, the Dutch designer recently created a human-powered automated knitting machine that can make a scarf while you wait for your train to arrive.

The Cyclo-Knitter is essentially a bicycle-powered loom. As you pedal a stationary bike, the spinning front wheel powers a knitting machine placed on top of a wooden tower. The freshly knitted fabric descends from the top of the tower as the machine works, lowering your brand-new scarf.

Cyclo Knitter by George Barratt-Jones from George Barratt-Jones on Vimeo.

“Imagine it’s the midst of winter,” Barratt-Jones, who founded an online skill-sharing platform called Kraftz, writes of the product on Imgur. “You are cold and bored waiting for your train at the station. This pedal powered machine gets you warm by moving, you are making something while you wait, and in the end, you are left with a free scarf!”

Seems like a pretty good use of your commute down-time, right?

If you're a fan of more traditional knitting methods, check out these knitting projects that can put your needles to work, no bicycle required.

[h/t The Morning News]

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Netherlands Officials Want to Pay Residents to Bike to Work
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Thinking about relocating to the Netherlands? You might also want to bring a bike. Government officials are looking to compensate residents for helping solve their traffic congestion problem and they want businesses to pay residents to bike to work, as The Independent reports.

Owing to automobile logjams on roadways that keep drivers stuck in their cars and cost the economy billions of euros annually, Dutch deputy infrastructure minister Stientje van Veldhoven recently told media that she's endorsing a program that would pay employees 19 cents for every kilometer (0.6 miles) they bike to work.

That doesn't sound like very much, but perhaps citizens who need to trek several miles each way would appreciate the cumulative boost in their weekly paychecks. For employers, the benefit would be a healthier workforce that might take fewer sick days and reduce parking needs.

Veldhoven says she also plans on designing a program that would assist employers in supplying workers with bicycles. The goal is to have 200,000 people opting for manual transportation over cars. If the program proceeds, it might find a receptive population. The Netherlands is already home to 22.5 million bikes, more than the 17.1 million people living there. In Amsterdam, a quarter of residents bike to work.

There's no timeline for implementing the pay-to-bike plan, but early trial studies indicate that the expense might not have to be a long-term prospect. Study subjects continued to bike to work even after the financial rewards stopped.

[h/t The Independent]

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