Read and Ride program


How to start your own
Read and Ride program


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There are 2 ways to start a Read and Ride program at your school:

2 ways to create a Read and Ride program

How do you get enough exercise bikes?

  • Send a flyer home with your students. (Example)
  • Send a phone message to all parents requesting any unused exercise bikes, music stands and magazines to be donated to your school. You will get more offers if you can pick up the bikes and bring them to school. 
  • Post a listing on and
  • Contact the people in the local newspaper or Craigslist who are attempting to sell their exercise bikes and ask if they would consider donating it to your school as a taxable donation. If not, contact local businesses who might purchase the used exercise bikes so they can put a sticker on the bike saying that they donated it. (Daycares, dentists, chiropractors, children clothing stores, skating rinks, arcades, consignment shops, and Tae Kwon Do centers are excellent businesses to contact.)
  • Contact your local newsaper, radio and television stations. This is such a positive program, they will be eager to be affiliated with your success. (Sample Press Release)
  • Ask parents to email their friends on their social networking sites to spread the word to help your school collect the exercise bikes. (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Ask parents and staff to include a listing in their church, synogogue or temple newsletters.
  • Be sure to put a sticker or card on each exercise bike to recognize the donors for their contributions.

What are some magazines to request?
American Girl

  • American Girl
  • Ask
  • Boy's Life
  • Click
  • Cobblestone
  • Dig
  • Faces
  • Ladybug
  • Highlights
  • National Geographic for Kids
  • Odyssey
  • Sports Illustrated for Kids
  • Time Life For Kids
  • Zoobooks
National Geographic For Kids

Sports Illustrated for Kids  Ladybug   Ranger Rick   Boy's Life   Zoobooks

How can we get book stands for the exercise bikes?

  1. The easiest way is to get music stands to hold the books in front of the bikes. Your local high school might have some to donate. (Example)
  2. Otherwise, ask parents, grandparents or the local vocational/technical school if they will adopt your program as a special project to make individual book stands for each bike. They will need to borrow the exercise bikes to customize each book stand. (Examples)

What rules should we use?
  1. No talking while riding the exercise bikes so others can read.
  2. Let the teacher know if anything breaks so he/she can take care of it.
  3. Walk to and from the exercise bikes in a calm and controlled manner.
  4. If you want to ride the same bike as someone else, simply do "Rock-Paper-Scissors" to resolve the problem. Being the first person to the bike does not guarantee that you get to ride it, so walk slowly.
  5. Put the magazines back in their trays and throw away any inserts or loose pages in the trash can.
  6. Stay in control of yourself at all times. Leave the adjustments alone and pedal on the medium setting. Don't adjust the bikes to the easiest setting and pedal too fast, you could get hurt and it makes it too difficult to read and ride at that pace.
  7. Initially, everyone has one minute to decide which exercise bike they want to ride. After that time, no one is allowed to switch bikes. You must choose one that you can comfortably ride and read at the same time.
  8. Feel free to download this sample set of rules for your Read and Ride room.

Extra tidbits
  • Since exercise bikes are mostly made for adults, you will probably need to drill extra holes in the seat posts to better accommodate children riding the exercise bikes at a lower height. Adjust some seats for younger children and others for older children. This will help children know which bikes they can comfortably ride and prevent injuries.
  • Take plenty of photos of classes and teachers who participate so they can use for their class newsletters, bulletin boards, websites and yearbooks.
  • Like any new program, it is important to provide structure and have patience while the students learn the rules and expectations.
  • Most students will be very excited to ride the bikes and many will want to see how fast they can pedal. Some teachers might be apprehensive of trying something new, especially when their students might not be successful initially. It is important to review the rules and expectations, as well as to reward the students who obey the rules. When students do not obey the rules, they should have consequences like sitting out while others participate.
  • Make a competition to see which class gets to be the first class to use the Read and Ride room. You might see which class can come up with the most words from the letters KIDSREADANDRIDE. (Sample)
  • Tape a small note on each bike to acknowledge who donated it. Some people want to list that the bike is in memory or honor of someone special. Also, you might want to post a list on the wall of all the donors.
  • Keep a locked toolbox in the room. It is recommended to include a pair of pliers, a set of Allen's wrenches, an adjustable wrench, screwdrivers, Superglue, needlenose pliers, and duct tape.
  • Keep a roll of clear tape and several laminated "Out of Order" signs for teachers to put on exercise bikes if a seat gets loose, a pedal falls off, handlebar gets loose, or any bikes needs to be repaired.
  • Ask one of the local bike shops to be a partner. They can be invaluable when repairs beyond your scope of expertise are necessary. They are usually willing to help. Offer to post one of their signs or banners in the Read and Ride room to thank them for their partnership.
  • Give each donor a letter on your school stationary thanking them for donating their exercise bike and declaring that it is a taxable donation for their tax purposes.
  • If your school starts a Read and Ride program, please email Scott Ertl if you need any help or need suggestions. We would love to feature your school on our website! Just let us know.
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