In March, thousands of children from across the UK will take part in a national bike race called ‘The Big Pedal’. The race, organised by Sustrans and funded by the bicycle industry through the Bike Hub levy scheme, will last for three weeks, starting on the 7th March.
The three week event follows a stage-race format; with time trials, sprint stages and hill climb stages. The more children, parents and teachers that cycle in to school on each day, the quicker time the school is awarded for each stage. The school with the lowest time overall will be declared winner.
First prize for the national winners is a display from the M.A.D cycle stunt team (which one performed to Formula One driver Jacques Villeneuve at his birthday party). National runners up win a Minipod bike and scooter storage system worth over £1,000 for their school.
In last year’s race, organised by Sustrans, 408 schools from across the UK competed to be the first to complete a gruelling, 5,224 mile bike challenge. A total of 288,201 journeys were made by bike, and approximately 461,121 miles were pedalled.
Bicycle Association deputy president Philip Darnton said: “Bike Hub is very committed to the future of cycling. Children are that future. Unless they learn to ride safely and without fear on their bikes at home and at school, we will create a new generation lost to cycling. Cycling is a life skill – and what better way to get going than to join The Big Pedal?”
Sustrans' School Travel Director, Paul Osborne said: “We’re delighted to be working so closely with Bike Hub, it’s great to see how dedicated the industry is in supporting young cyclists.
“The race will act as a great way for whole school communities and cycle shops to join together, to encourage children to cycle to school. The most important part of this race will be to show pupils, parents and teachers how easy it is to choose two wheels, instead of four, for the journey to school.”
The Big Pedal 2011 is open to any school within the UK, and it is free to take part. Schools can sign up to take part in the entire three week challenge, or register for a special one-day stage that will take place in the last week of the race – which is also Bike to School Week (21st – 25th March).
Bike shops are being encouraged to join in the race, by supporting local participating schools. Way for bike shops to get involved include holding in-school Dr. Bike days.