With a huge summer of cycling ahead, hundreds of Leeds school pupils are getting on two wheels for the school run as part of the Big Pedal 2015.
After the inspirational scenes of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart from Yorkshire and the Tour de Yorkshire to come in May, pedal power is still on the agenda at Leeds schools and among them 27 are urging youngsters to cycle or scoot as part of the Sustrans charity’s event.
Thousands of youngsters are taking part in the Big Pedal, a competition for primary and secondary schools which encourages children to cycle or scoot to school over 10 days up to March 20.
Jillian Sabourn is headteacher at participating Ninelands Primary School, in Garforth, which has already collectively seen staff, pupils and their families take to two wheels for more than 560 journeys to and from school since Monday.
She said: “As well as encouraging healthy lifestyles and their general wellbeing, it’s getting that message across to children early that physical exercise and sustainability are good things.”
Sustrans claims that almost two-fifths of parents in Yorkshire say their child does as little as 40minutes of exercise or less every week day – well below the recommended hour.
The Big Pedal gives schools the chance to compete for prizes by urging people to cycle or scoot to school, which helps embed the idea of healthy commuting. This year 147 schools are taking part in Yorkshire.
Natalie Whelan, Sustrans’ Yorkshire schools coordinator, added: “By getting involved, a lot of schools say they see a change right over the summer term. Families realise it’s a fun and active way to travel.”
BIG PEDAL FACTS
Nationwide more than 1,700 schools and 518,000 children are taking part in the Big Pedal 2015.
In Yorkshire alone last year more than 150 schools took part and made a total of 91,101 journeys by bike or scooter.
Schools log their journeys daily and place on an online leader board at www.bigpedal.org.uk.
The national winners can earn themselves scooter or mountain bike stunt shows at their schools or days out.