Every Friday morning in Barcelona, a special kind of bus collects kids on their way to school in the Eixample district.
Dubbed the “Bicibus” or Bike Bus, it’s more like a caravan or an escort, one which started when five families decided to ride their bikes to school to advocate for bike lanes and safer, quieter roads. More and more families joined in until it became a weekly event.
“It all started with a group of five families, a lot of determination and a deep sense of the greater good,” Mireia Boix, a parent of a 5-year-old son who takes the Bicibus, told NPR in an email.
Three “stops” along the way allow kids and their parents to join the Bicibus, and all modes of pedal-powered transport are welcomed, whether that’s a scooter or roller blades.
The parents are hoping their ever-growing convoy of kids will lead the authorities to construct a school-friendly bike lane away from the main traffic flow. The route the Bicibus takes every Friday goes down Entença Street, a busy thoroughfare where three schools are located. The ride takes 25 minutes from start to finish, but 20,000 cars pass along Entença every day, and as the Bicibus grew, it acquired its own police escort.
It’s a relief, Boix details, to know that her son has a safe way to get to school, as plying the road as a solo cyclist is more dangerous than going by bus or car.
“Bicycles are a means of transportation and if a 5-year-old can ride a bike to school it means that every one else could. If the population uses their bikes, there will be a healthier, quieter and overall better city to live in,” Boix said.
Social media is filled with pictures and videos of the petit peloton, and some of the kids even sport Bicibus jerseys.