Scheme urges pupils to use pedal power

Mrs McCauley and her son Josh took part in The Big Pedal 2016.  INCT 18-725-CON
Mrs McCauley and her son Josh took part in The Big Pedal 2016. INCT 18-725-CON

Eden Primary School has encouraged its pupils to jump on their bikes and scooters for one-day cycle challenge The Big Pedal.

The national initiative, which took place on April 19, is organised by charity Sustrans , which aims to encourage children to be more active.

On the day of the challenges, some 53 percent at the Carrickfergus primary school travelled by bike or scooter, accoridng to Eden teacher Sarah Radcliffe.

Meanwhile, thousands of pupils have been taking part in The Big Pedal 2016, an inter- school competition which challenges children to cycle and scoot to school.

“I am very impressed with the number of children and parents who took part in The Big Pedal one day challenge,” said Mrs Radcliffe.

“We hope that by continuing to encourage our children to walk, cycle and scoot to school that we will see a reduction in congestion and pollution around the school gates, but ultimately that the children will become fitter, healthier and happier.”

Ben Merry, programme development officer at Sustrans, added: “The average primary school journey is just 1.6 miles – the perfect distance to walk or cycle. The Big Pedal is fun, inclusive and it helps schools to encourage whole families to lead more active lives, as well as reducing car traffic and pollution around the school gates.

“Although the competition runs for two weeks, it has a lasting effect on the way that the school community travel to school; last year 75 percent of schools who took part in the Big Pedal said that pupils continued to cycle and scoot to school following the event.”

The Big Pedal is now the UK’s largest inter-school cycling and scooting challenge, and is funded through the Bike Hub scheme, a voluntary levy scheme organised by the Bicycle Association with the aim of safeguarding the future of cycling.

Sustrans provide free information for schools, parents, pupils, councils and anybody else interested in school travel initiatives. To find out more go to http://www.sustrans.org.uk/our-services/where-we-work/schools