What is a bike bus: How do you set one up?

26 February 2024

In an era where environmental consciousness is at the forefront of our minds, alternative modes of transport are gaining popularity. One innovative and eco-friendly solution that has been making waves is the concept of the bike bus. Combining the benefits of cycling with the camaraderie of group travel, a bike bus is a unique and sustainable way to commute to and from school and explore your community.

In this blog, we'll delve into the idea of a bike bus and how to set one up.


The concept of a bike bus:

A bike bus is essentially a group of cyclists travelling together in a line, similar to a traditional bus, with adults leading at the front and supporting from the back. It offers several advantages, such as increased visibility on the road, improved safety for cyclists, reduced traffic congestion, and, of course, a sense of community.

A bike bus for school is great as it is timetabled and a brilliant way of getting some fresh air for kids. It offers a chance for children to get on and hop off when they need to, making the journey fun with friends.


The benefits of a bike bus

The bike bus instils a love for cycling, contributing to overall health and well-being. There are plenty of benefits for children:

  • - Helps kids start their day off on a positive
  • - Helps kids understand the enjoyment of exercise
  • - Helps connect communities
  • - Helps reduce traffic congestion
  • - Helps teach kids about protecting the environment and reducing emissions
  • - Helps teach kids about road safety
  • - Helps kids work as a team
  • - Helps kids feel responsible

FUN FACT: Did you know that children and young people aged 5-18 years old need at least an hour of physical activity every day, and adults need 2.5 hours a week?*
*Source: Sustrans FRideDAYS bike bus toolkit.

As children embark on this shared journey to school, they not only arrive at their destination with a sense of accomplishment but also carry a healthier mindset of a sustainable future.

FUN FACT. Did you know according to the National Travel Survey, 48% of children walk to school and 3% cycle to school.*
*Source - gov.uk

Setting up your bike bus:


Define the purpose and the route:

Before you start organising a bike bus, clearly define its purpose and the route it will take. Having a clear goal will help attract participants. Planning a route to school should ensure there are multiple bike stops and be mindful of kerbs, uneven surfaces and potholes. It’s best to test-ride the route before you introduce it to children.

Plan your route >>

Legal considerations:

Ensure that your bike bus complies with local traffic laws and regulations. Consider obtaining necessary permits or permissions from relevant authorities, especially if your route involves roads with heavy traffic. Take a look at FRideDays bike bus training for more information.

Take a look at the Sustrans toolkit >>

Safety first:

Emphasise safety for all participants. Encourage the use of helmets, reflective gear, and lights. Establish rules for riding etiquette and traffic signals, and make sure all participants are aware of them. Also, try and keep your route child-friendly, between 1-3 miles avoiding busy roads.

Communication channels:

Set up effective communication channels with parents to keep participants informed about routes, meeting points, and any changes. Social media groups, messaging apps, posters at school and email lists can be used for this purpose. You could send flyers out to your communication groups.

Recruitment of adult volunteers:

Spread the word about your bike bus to recruit interested cyclists, such as teachers and parents of school children. Utilise school social media platforms, and school community boards to reach potential participants. Highlight the environmental and health benefits of biking together.

Click here to download a bike bus poster to help spread the word >>


Designated meeting points:

Choose convenient and safe meeting points for participants to gather before starting the ride. Having a designated starting and ending point will make coordination easier.

Leadership and roles:

Assign roles within the bike bus, such as a ride leader, sweep (to ensure no one is left behind), and communication coordinator. This helps maintain order and ensures everyone has a positive experience.


Promote sustainability:

Emphasise the environmental benefits of biking and encourage participants to adopt eco-friendly practices. Consider partnering with local businesses to promote sustainable initiatives.

FUN FACT. Did you know according to Sustrans, 1 in 4 cars in the morning rush hour are on the school run?
Source: Sustrans

Celebrate milestones:

Recognise and celebrate milestones, such as the number of rides completed, total distance covered, or any positive impact on the community. Giving certificates to kids is a great idea. This fosters a sense of accomplishment and strengthens the bike bus community.


Feedback loop:

Establish a feedback loop to continuously improve the bike bus experience. Encourage participants to share their thoughts and suggestions for enhancements.

Case study: Coopers Lane Primary School

The Bike Bus initiative, founded by Jacks Lampon, Anna Moore, Ben Donaldson, Tom Humphrey and Tom Crispin, commenced its journey on September 22, 2022, coinciding with World Car Free Day. With a modest start of just 13 participants - 8 children and 5 adults - the initiative has grown into a remarkable movement. By the last day of term, July 21, 2023, the Bike Bus proudly welcomed 85 participants, with 50 children and 35 adults joining the ranks. Among the notable participants was Louise Krupski, Labour's Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate, embodying the initiative's focus on environmental consciousness.

📸Photo credit to Donna Ford at Donna Ford Creative Portrait, Branding & Event Photographer

Meeting once a week in various traffic-free locales, the Bike Bus has been a beacon of accessibility and inclusivity. From parks to cul-de-sacs, the chosen locations aim to accommodate as many children as possible, fostering a sense of community and active participation. The weekly gatherings also provide a platform for social interaction, nurturing connections alongside promoting sustainable travel to school.

Tag us in on your bike bus adventures @FrogBikes
Happy cycling!


How to organise a bike bus by Cycling UK >>
Download your FRideDays Bike Bus >>
How to set up a bike bus by Sustrans >>
Cycling with children in groups >>
Essential cycling skills for families >>
Coopers Lane Primary School Case Study>>
Frog Bikes bus poster >>
Frog Bikes- Bike bus certificate >>

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