Oakridge Elementary School fourth-grader Julia Murray celebrated Walk/Bike to School Day Wednesday by riding to school on her lavender bike with her mother alongside her.
“Walking or biking gives you exercise,” said Julia, who is 9.
Julia routinely walks to school with her mom, Laura, but said that she rode the bus to school over the summer for a weekend program. Her take on the bus: “It was so boring.”
The Murray family and hundreds of Arlington Public Schools students participated in the national Walk/Bike to School Day event sponsored by the Partnership for a Walkable America. The event began in Chicago in 1997 and soon spread nationwide.
“It’s a great way to encourage healthy habits, get to school and start the day,” said Chris Eatough, who is a program manager for BikeArlington, a group that promotes biking in the county. BikeArlington sponsors the event locally along with Arlington Public Schools and WalkArlington.
Before classes started at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Eatough and a cluster of about 20 parents and children gathered at the historical Hume School at 1805 S. Arlington Ridge Road, which is about a mile away from Oakridge.
The idea was for the bicyclists to ride to school together, with a police escort clearing the path for them down South Arlington Ridge Road.
“I’m a little nervous because of the traffic,” Murray said. “We are a little close together to them.”
Laura Murray said that walking to school is usually more feasible for her and Julia.
“There are four ways to get to school and it’s all up a hill,” Laura Murray said. “But walking is great. We deliberately live in a neighborhood where you can bike or walk to school.”
Another parent, Dana Dougherty, said that her two eldest sons, Garrett, 8, and Gavin, 7, bike to school while her youngest Griffin, 5, follows on a scooter.
“It’s fantastic,” Dougherty said. “It puts everyone in a happy mood in the morning.”