Biking to High School (and Beyond)

William Diaz-Perez on his commute to school

William Diaz-Perez, a senior at Woodrow Wilson HS, on his commute to school.

Bike to School Day may be over, but for students in the District, biking can be an excellent, year-round way to get to wherever they’re going. We caught up with William Diaz-Perez, a senior at Woodrow Wilson High School who regularly bikes to school. His commute takes him from his home in Mount Pleasant to school in Tenleytown, as well as to his after-school job and elsewhere in the city. Riding from Mount Pleasant to Wilson involves crossing Rock Creek Park, meaning a steep descent and a long climb back out. Diaz-Perez usually uses Tilden St. NW, which is known as a long steep climb in the city.  Nevertheless, he doesn’t mind the uphill. “It’s hard,” he noted, “but I like it because every time I do it my legs get stronger.” Diaz-Perez uses his student Metro pass to occasionally take transit, but his preference is always to ride. “It saves time [to bike], I don’t waste time waiting for the bus or Metro.” His ride also helps him do better at school. “I feel different at school when I don’t ride. I feel lazy when I take the bus, but feel more energetic, more awake when I ride my bike.” That energy helps him pay better attention and do better in class. So how does Diaz-Perez carry all the books and supplies he needs for school, not to mention clothes for work? He uses a waterproof backpack, which when paired with a jacket, lets him ride in the rain and keep his important stuff dry. He enjoys riding to Wilson; it has plenty of bike parking available for him to ride up, park, and roll into class on time.   The thing that Diaz-Perez would most like to change about his commute?  The amount of car traffic he has to face. Nevertheless, he doesn’t let it faze him, and with any luck, he’s even inspiring other students to give biking a try. With youth like Diaz-Perez who are growing up riding, the future looks to be one with at least one less car causing traffic. Want your child to learn the skills needed to bike to school and beyond from experts?  Send them to WABA’s Bike Camp! where they will spend a week learning how to safely navigate the city from WABA counselors whilst having fun and exploring the city by bike.

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