Pupil pedal power!

Published Wednesday, 26th March 2014
Family in the park
A family cycling in the park

Children in Rotherham have made over 7,000 journeys to school on bikes and scooters in just two weeks, as part of an inter-school competition which encourages children to be more active.

The Big Pedal ran from 3 -14 March and challenged families to leave their cars at home and cycle and scoot the school run. The competition is run by charity Sustrans and funded by Bike Hub.

Over 10 days children from 12 schools in Rotherham took part, and together clocked up 7,740 journeys to school on bikes and scooters. Nationally, 1,520 schools across the UK took part in The Big Pedal and by 5.00 pm on Friday 14 March an impressive 1, 104,700 journeys to school on bikes and scooters had been recorded on the competition website.

Participating schools saw an unprecedented number of children taking part; Swinton Fitzwilliam Primary School in Rotherham recorded active journeys on bikes and scooters by 43 per cent of their pupils, and came first in the competition in Rotherham. As a reward, they will receive a visit from the Extreme Mountain Bike UK's stunt riders for a special show to say well done. That’s what you call pupil pedal power!

Vicky Helliwell, Head teacher at Swinton Fitzwilliam said: "Everyone is absolutely thrilled to have done so well in the Big Pedal. Parents and children were fully committed to pedalling to school at every opportunity and we were thrilled to see so many pupils coming to school on their bikes and scooters, getting active and healthy on the journey to school. We can't wait to see the stunt show."

Natalie Whelan, Sustrans Bike It Officer for Rotherham said: "It has been fantastic to see so many families taking part in the competition, and getting active on the way to school during the Big Pedal. We need to ensure that this isn’t just an activity for just two weeks of the year, and I hope that throughout the Spring and Summer, more families choose to travel to school by bike and scooter."

Malcolm Shepherd, chief executive at Sustrans said: "Each one of the journeys made during The Big Pedal proves that families can change the way they travel if they choose to.

"Every day millions of children across the UK are driven to primary school, even though most families live an average of just 1.8 miles away. It’s a distance which takes just 20 minutes to cycle or scoot.

"When cycling and scooting are incorporated into daily routines they can play a vital role in improving the health and well-being of our children."

Although the average journey to secondary school is just 3.4 miles and 1.8 miles for primary schools, research shows that only four per cent of children currently cycle or scoot to school. By holding events like The Big Pedal, charity Sustrans is trying to change the way families travel to school.

Find out more about The Big Pedalimage