Running, cycling to daycare keeps father and son fit in Darwin

Dad-of-three Matt King does the daycare run. Literally.

He runs through three suburbs to and from school with his kids three days a week in Darwin’s challenging weather.

Son Harry rides his bike and brother Archie gets pushed in the capsule.

It’s a 4.5km distance and takes about 30 minutes each way.

“We find it’s a great way to incorporate a bit of exercise into the day,” he said.

“It’s just a good routine.”

They actively commute all year round, in all weather.

“The rain just helps to cool it down.”

Saves finding a car park
Mr King encouraged parents to give active commuting a try.

“Even if it’s once a week or once every second week,” he said.

“It’s great to spend a bit of time with them.”

The bike and capsule stay at school until the afternoon, or else Mr King runs home with the bike on board.

“It’s an easy way to get a bit of exercise in. And overall it’s just good fun.”

Brighter, wider paths
They cut through the suburban lanes and streets of their home suburb of Karama, before joining the shared path adjacent to arterial, Vanderlin Drive.

But some suburban alleyways have been closed by City of Darwin in an attempt to reduce anti-social behaviour.

“We need to make them more accessible,” Mr King said.

“The Territory actually has really good roads and footpaths. It’s about connecting them so that you’ve got easy access from wherever someone is living in a suburb to these footpaths that then get to the end of their journey.”

He said more lighting, wider paths, and more paths were needed.

“At the moment, they’re doing a really good job.”

Hand-in-hand
City of Darwin’s Movement Strategy aims to make it easier to get around the municipality on human power.

“Produced after extensive public consultation, the strategy also seeks to improve connectivity, infrastructure, and streetscapes throughout Darwin while helping to reduce the impact of transport on the environment,” a city spokesman said.

Pedestrian Council of Australia president Harold Scruby supports active commuting to school and work, but points out the dangers of crossing busy roads.

“It’s great to be exercising. But road safety has to come first,” he said.

“When we do National Walk Safely to School Day, we state that no child under the age of 10 should cross any road unless they’re holding the hand of an adult.”