This March, from 3rd to 14th, charity Sustrans is challenging kids, parents and teachers across the UK to leave their cars at home and get on their bikes for the school run.
Hundreds of thousands of kids are expected to take part in the cycle industry levy Bike Hub-backed Big Pedal 2014, an inter-school competition which aims to get more children active by cycling to school.
First launched in 2009, the Big Pedal has gained popularity over the past five years and has become the UK’s largest inter-school cycling competition. Participating schools compete with one another to make the most journeys by bike or scooter over ten days.
By signing up to the Big Pedal schools receive tailored lesson plans, posters, maps, and ideas on how to encourage everyone in the school to get involved. They’ll also be in with a chance to win prizes for the school.
“Last year hundred of thousands of journeys were made by over a thousand schools and this year it will be even bigger and better,” enthused Sustrans chief executive Malcolm Shepherd. “The average primary school journey is just 1.5 miles which is the perfect distance to walk or cycle, so this year we’re aiming to get children in two thousand schools to make over one million journeys by bike and scooter over ten school days."
The race is funded by Bike Hub, a joint initiative of the Bicycle Association and the Association of Cycle Traders via the Bike Hub levy scheme.
Phillip Darnton, executive director of the Bicycle Association said: “The Bicycle Association has been fully funding the Big Pedal since 2011. It is a fantastic competition which has become more popular every year principally because children love to cycle and scoot!
“There is a very real risk that a large proportion of the next generation will not know how to ride a bike safely. That’s why it is so important for us to continue to encourage young people to cycle, and we are delighted to be the sponsor to such an important and enjoyable annual event.”
Deepi Hayre, whose son Dylan (seven) goes to Strand on the Green Primary School in Chiswick, said: “The Big Pedal has been great because it really made Dylan want to get on his bike more. The school run is only a short journey for us but it has made it fun for him, and he now uses his bike every single day. Now we are cycling journeys that we used to do by car – even in the rain!”