Did you have BMX envy or a roller boot rivalry? How did you get to school and how do your kids get there today?
With the long relaxed summer (well, relaxed from your kids’ point of view) drawing to a close and the back to school rush is upon us, we’ve taken a look at the favoured modes of transport for kids to get to school under their own steam.
If it’s safe (and not too far), getting your kids to cycle or scoot to school can help them concentrate during the day ahead – plus it’ll help to burn off the night’s accumulated energy and will get fresh air in their lungs. But while these are the favoured modes of transport for the school run in 2016, things weren’t always the same. We’ve travelled through time all the way back to the 1970s to remember how the transport of choice for children has changed over the years.
Schwinn Sting Ray
America’s best-selling and most loved bike, the Sting-Ray debuted in 1963 but reached peak fame in the 70s, selling over 2 million in 5 years. Known for being easy to wheelie and laying the foundation for BMXs and dirt riding, the Sting-Ray is truly iconic.
Known for its large back wheel and small front wheel, and its angular, aggressive-looking seat, the Raleigh Chopper was an enormous success in Britain and America. They brought the style of Easy Rider to the backstreets of our towns and cities, it was at the top of every 70s kid’s Christmas list and would have ensured you were the coolest kid in school.
The Sting-Ray and Chopper had had their day by the 1980s, and all anyone could talk about instead was the BMX, especially after Elliott helped ET get home in 1982. BMX racing became the phenomenon of the day, and this worldwide sensation paved the way for BMXing as a bona fide sport, which is now a multi-million pound industry.
If you weren’t an avid BMX rider, then you might have glided through the 80s in roller boots. Available in the neon clashing colours the decade is so well known for, kids would be out on the streets well into the evening to try out the latest tricks and get around their neighbourhood in double quick time.
For a fleeting moment, the Sinclair C5 was set to revolutionise the way we travel. An electric powered… thing, not a bike, not a car, not entirely sure. It had a massive launch in 1985 but disappeared the same year. The chances are it never made it to the school gate.
The 90s saw the roller boots upgrade to the sleek four wheeled (and vastly more difficult to use) roller blades. If you could master this skill you’d be named king of the playground – but it was always a good idea to keep your elbow and knee pads on at all times to avoid the inevitable tumbles!
In great contrast to the no gear bikes of the 1970s, mountain bikes were ready for anything and had plenty of gears to help you get up those alpine trails. In reality, most kids used them for whizzing up and down their streets, maybe occasionally venturing into the nearby fields – the huge tyres were definitely a status symbol rather than a practical measure!
While scooters have been around since 1960s, their moment came in the early 2000s, when the Razor scooter took the world by storm. Introduced in Japan in 1999, it has been a global fad ever since – as toys for kids, but for grown-up kids too!
Any child of the 2000s will remember absolute necessity of owning a pair of Heelys. Looking like an unsuspecting pair of shoes, heelys can be converted into a pair of skates by the simple tilt of the foot. Unlike other modes of transport through the ages, these could easily be worn in shopping malls, supermarkets and other inside venues, causing mischief wherever they went.
Suspension clad mountain bikes
The mountain bike is better than ever before, making it top of any kid’s list of cool things to enter the playground on. Again, we’re not sure how many children of the 2010s are really using these things to traverse difficult terrain, but their practical nature makes the adventure family holiday a real possibility!
When ever out for an afternoon stroll, you need to have your wits about you to ensure you don’t come off worst with dozens of kids flying around on their micro scooters. Parents often seen cycling along side while their little ones nimbly negotiate all and any obstacle.
Screen Time is an app that helps parents manage the time their kids spend on smartphones and tablets. If your kids haven’t dusted off their bikes in a while, Screen Time can help draw them away from their device by setting daily time limits, enabling parents to remotely pause their child’s device and block access during specific hours of the day – making more time for getting out and about!
Available on Apple and Android devices, try it for free here: