Families invited to take on Sustrans Big Pedal 2021

Families are being invited to take up the Big Pedal 2021 – the ‘UK’s largest’ cycling, walking, wheeling and scooting competition for primary and secondary schools.

The competition, which has now been running for 11 years, is fronted by Dame Sarah Storey, British Paralympian and 38-time world champion in cycling and swimming.

Organised by Sustrans, Big Pedal 2021 will run from 19th-30th April and will see young people across the UK compete with one another to make the most journeys by cycling, walking, scooting or using a wheelchair.

The theme of this year’s competition, ‘Amazing Journeys’ will encourage pupils to see their local areas from a different perspective and learn about the benefits of active travel.

With the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns resulting in many spending more time at home, Sustrans Big Pedal 2021 is adapting to become more flexible, and children will be able to take part in the competition and supporting activities whether they are travelling to school or learning at home.

New data from Sport England suggests there has been a decline in the physical activity levels of children due to the pandemic, with almost a third of children in England engaging in less than 30 minutes of daily physical activity in the 2019–2020 academic year.

Storey said: “I am delighted to be involved with the Big Pedal in 2021, and delighted it will be pandemic-proof this year too! Health has been in the spotlight over the past year, like never before, and getting out for a cycle ride has been one of the few activities that has been unaffected by the various restrictions.

“Staying active is one of the ways we can all play our part in protecting the NHS throughout our lives, as active people are less likely to fall into ill-health and suffer from the many diseases caused by not getting enough exercise. I really hope to see as many people as possible involved this year, it will be a fantastic way to start the spring and to give ourselves a challenge in what has already been a challenging start to the year.”

Xavier Brice, CEO at Sustrans, added: “We’re excited that the Big Pedal is returning for 2021, after what has been a truly difficult year for all, and the need to make time to incorporate physical activity into our daily routines seems important now more than ever. Whilst we don’t know exactly what the rest of 2021 will bring in terms of coronavirus restrictions, we’re delighted pupils will be able to take part, regardless of where they are learning.

“Active travel has proven its worth over the past year, with more people looking for socially distanced ways to move around and remain active in lockdown. As we look towards life after COVID-19, and schools returning as normal, we hope to see local authorities use the next stage of funding announced in November for cycling and walking to continue to make it easier for families to travel actively to school.

“More people travelling actively for essential every day journeys such as the school run means fewer cars on the road, helping to ease congestion and reduce air pollution around school gates.”


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