New cycle clubs are being set up in 71 shools in outer London as part of Transport for London (TfL) and Boris Johnson's Biking Boroughs pledge.
TfL has given grants to help the schools buy bikes and cycling equipment for pupils – in the form of pool bikes – and to install on-site cycle parking, run cycle safety awareness days, and provide cycle training for pupils, parents and staff. Each school will develop and manage its own projects under the 'Cycle Grants for Schools' scheme.
The Biking Boroughs initiative targets 13 outer London boroughs with high car usage, specific issues such with bus behaviour or overcrowding on buses, or fall within the top ten congested areas. Three applications were permitted per borough, and applications were made by borough officers. TfL said the goal is to encourage a culture of cycling in outer London by creating cycle hubs and cycling communities in local town centres. Biking Borough schools were eligible for £9,000 funding and the rest of the boroughs for funding of £3,000.
“We want the joys of cycling to be available to everyone, and children in outer London schools will now be able to join in, gain confidence, and perhaps inspire the rest of their families to get peddling too, said Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
TfL director of Better Routes and Places Ben Plowden added: “This funding will enable more young children and families to experience and appreciate cycling in London. Creating greater opportunities for children to increase their ability and awareness of cycling at school gets them familiar with cycling from an early age – building for a greener, healthier future.”
Marcus Shute, deputy head at St Aubyn's School in Redbridge, commented: "We were very pleased to receive our £9,000 cycle club grant from Transport for London. This money has opened up a whole avenue of possibilities for our pupils. We plan to use the money to fund equipment such as pool bikes, locks, spare parts as well as organising events to promote cycling at the school.
"In our after school bike club we plan to teach the younger pupils cycle skills and with our older pupils we plan to run skill based games to further hone their skills. We really hope that by engaging our pupils in cycling activities that more of them will ride to school and help reduce congestion around the school.”