The Big Pedal is being pitched as the perfect time for local bike shops to strengthen ties with schools and market their business to dozens of local pupils.
Running this year from March 3rd to 14th, the Big Pedal is a nationwide competition between schools where pupils are encouraged to cycle instead of being driven into school.
Local bike shop Vincini Cycles of Upminster has already benefited from engaging with local schools and believes the Big Pedal is an opportunity to cement links with more potential customers. Open since August 2013, Vincini Cycles has been working with Big Pedal operator Sustrans.
Owner Colin Bath has over twenty years experience in the trade and teamed up with Sustrans London Schools officer Lucy Colbeck to offer a discount scheme to pupils who come to his shop. The children at the schools taking part are given business cards that entitle them to their discount.
Bath said: “I started the scheme in November last year and from the very first afternoon of handing out the cards I have had families from the schools coming in to the shop. I’m relatively new in the area and so it’s been really good advertising and by offering a friendly and trustworthy service, the families come back for repeat visits.
“When I was a youngster I was never encouraged to cycle. Now I have my kids and they all ride. When they first started on Bikeability I realised a lot of bikes the kids were riding were in a dreadful condition and poorly maintained so it wasn’t safe for them to be cycling. I want all kids to cycle but I also want them to be on bikes that are safe to use.
“It’s a great idea for businesses to get involved in school events like The Big Pedal 2014. It’s all about getting more people making journeys by bike so bike shops should definitely support it, from simply promoting it in their windows or by offering help in other ways. It benefits everyone involved in the long run.”
The Big Pedal is funded by Bike Hub.