Children from over 800 schools across the UK took part in this year’s Big Pedal, clocking up an astonishing 990,550 journeys by bike to and from school over three weeks.
By encouraging children to travel by bike and shun the car, the scheme potentially saved parents more than £250k in petrol costs over the period. If the children taking part continued to cycle to and from school for a year, the saving could be as much as £2 million.
Over a quarter of a million children took part in this years Big Pedal, run by Sustrans and funded by the cycle industry’s own Bike Hub.
“We’ve been absolutely amazed by the take up in this year’s competition," said Paul Osborne, Sustrans school travel director. "The amount of journeys that have been clocked up by children in just three weeks is astounding. It really goes to show just how easy it is to leave the car at home and use two wheels for short journeys like the school run.”
The average journey to school for children aged between five and 11 is a mere 1.6 miles. Road congestion during the school run has resulted in 20 per cent of all cars on the road at 8.50am in term time a result of taking children to school.
Jason O’Rourke, Head Teacher at Washingborough Primary School commented: “Pupils and parents really got on board with the competition. It was amazing to see how much calmer the school gates and surrounding roads were with less cars bringing children to school. Lots of parents have been commenting on how great it is that the Big Pedal is reducing the amount of traffic outside of the school.”
Cycling England’s Bikeability Manager Paul Robison added: “Now that it seems spring has finally sprung, I hope the momentum that The Big Pedal has achieved will continue and that others will be inspired both to do their Bikeability and to cycle to school. We always knew that children wanted to ride their bikes, but nearly a million bike trips in three weeks proves it! I’d like to say a big thank you to all the schools and children who took part and to the cycle industry Bike Hub fund that made the Big Pedal possible this year. And for the oil companies: sorry to dent your profits!”
Pupils from Pontrhydyfen Primary School will be treated to a day with the M.A.D cycle stunt team, which has performed for the likes of F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve. National runners up win a Minipod bike and scooter storage system worth over £1,000 for their school and the fastest school in each region will win a bike workshop kit consisting of 78 bike tools, a shadow board to hold them all in and a bicycle work stand for all your school’s cycle repair needs supplied by Fisher Outdoor and Weldtite. Fisher Outdoor has also provided five cycle repair tool kits and floor pumps that can be won in the daily challenges in the last week of the Big Pedal.