Help is at hand with the Big Pedal, which launches today

Health problems and excess weight top parent’s fears for kids

Primary and secondary school cycle competition The Big Pedal has been launched for 2015, running March 2nd and 20th.

Pro-active bike shops are getting involved again, including Belhaven Bikes, which will carry out free bike safety checks at two local schools (and trialling free scooter safety checks). The shop will also offer prices to two Dunbar schools and hire bikes to parents, carers, teachers and supporters participating in the event.

The Big Pedal launches as Sustrans releases statistics on parents fears for their childen. Nearly half (45 per cent) of GB parents say that their child does as little as 40 minutes or less exercise in a typical weekday.

The survey revealed that teenage girls were the least active, with 66% of parents of 16 year old girls saying they are getting 40 minutes of exercise or less in a typical weekday. The government recommends that children and teenagers undertake a minimum of an hour of exercise a day.

The survey, carried out by YouGov, asked parents of 5 – 16 year olds about the amount of exercise their child gets during the school week and what their main concerns would be if their child was not getting enough exercise.

Of the parents surveyed, nearly two fifths (38 per cent) said that they were mainly concerned about their child putting on excess weight, as a result of being physically inactive. A further 30 per cent said their main concern would be their child developing health problems such as cancer, heart disease or diabetes. Of this, 12 per cent of parents were most concerned about childhood health problems, while 18 per cent were most concerned about health problems in later life.

When asked how they could increase the amount of exercise that their child took, just under half of parents (44 per cent) thought that walking, cycling, scooting and skating could be incorporated into their routines as part of the journey to school.

Sustrans Chief Executive Malcolm Shepherd said: “Today’s children are the least physically active in history, and set to have shorter life expectancies than their parents because of this.

“Physical activity is essential for healthy growth and development; it has been shown to improve concentration and attainment at school as well as encouraging social interaction and confidence in children.

"The most effective way to tackle the physical inactivity crisis among young people is to incorporate exercise into their daily routines by cycling and scooting to school.”

Last year over 1,200 schools took part in the event and pupils, parents and siblings made over a million journeys (1,142,374) to school on their bikes and scooters. In a survey of teachers whose schools took part in the competition, 76% said that pupils continued to cycle and scoot to school following the event.

Run by charity Sustrans and funded by the Bicycle Association on behalf of the cycle industry through its Bike Hub scheme, The Big Pedal has become the UK’s largest cycling and scooting competition.

Dunbar Primary School’s Big Pedal Co-ordinator and Class Teacher Laura Herkes said: “Last year we came 6th in Scotland and 24th overall in the competition and in 2013 we were awarded first prize for Scotland in the large schools category! We hope to improve on this success this year and go for ‘in Britain’. We are actively encouraging as many pupils and adults to cycle/scoot to school during The Big Pedal. It is a great way to keep healthy, develop independence and look after the environment.”, and Tom Fendick, Technologies Teacher from Dunbar Grammar school, added “Having participated in the Big Pedal for the past few years and been very successful we are looking forward to it again this year. We were knocked from the top spot in Scotland last year so we’ll be looking to do everything we can to increase participation numbers and regain the number one position!”

To find out more about The Big Pedal 2015 go to:

If you’re a bike shop getting involved with the Big Pedal, let us know at or in the comments below and we’ll give you a shout out either here or on our social media pages.

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