Promoting cycling can benefit the school curriculum, giving pupils personal experience of the issues they learn about in the classroom.
Points of contact with the curriculum include:
The pros and cons of car use (PSHE, citizenship)
Mapping cycle routes (geography, IT)
Importance of physical exercise for health (PE, PSHE)
Environmental issues (science, geography)
The Times Educational Supplement (February 2003) outlined the subjects that could benefit from pedal-powered insights. These subjects include history ("list all the ways in which the bicycle created and fostered freedom and directly or indirectly led to radical thoughts and actions…"); modern foreign languages ("the Tour de France provides scope for teaching geography, dates and numbers…"); art ("explore the drama of the cycle race emphasising crowds, speed, colourful banners…"); primary techology ("investigate gears and the way toothed wheels make one shaft turn another…"); maths ("make a collection of bicycle tyres…investigate radius, diameter and circumference…"); and science ("why do Olympic cyclists wear the helmets they do?").
The four page piece was also very strong on the role of the bicycle in the emancipation of women at the end of the 19th century, a usually overlooked part of history.
The piece includes the quote of US women’s activist Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906), one of the leading lights in the American women’s rights movement:
"Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance."
And, bicycles could be seen as more than just agents of social change, they were ‘marital aids’ that expanded the gene pool, said the TES article:
"It’s even been suggested that the bicycle made us all cleverer because, with its aid, boys and girls could more easily meet and marry partners from outside their immediate area, thus widening the genetic background of their descendents."