New initiative is wheely inspiring

Children across Northumberland are being actively encouraged by their schools to get on their bikes as part of this year’s Big Pedal 2021.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 4:59 pm
Training on bikes for a group of Stannington First School pupils.

To date, 11 have signed up and are actively engaging with the daily challenges.

The Big Pedal is the UK’s largest inter-school cycling and scooter-based challenge that aims to inspire and empower children, teachers and parents to get on two wheels in order to make the daily journey to school.

Organisers say this will improve their health and well-being, whilst also having a positive impact on the environment and reducing traffic congestion at school gates.

Alexandra Palmer, Stannington First School headteacher, said: “We are taking part in the Big Pedal as part of our on-going initiative to encourage active travel to school.

“Not only does this reduce congestion and improve the air quality around our school gates, but we also believe that our pupils who travel actively to school arrive more alert and ready to learn.

“In preparation, all pupils from Reception to Year 4 have participated in some cycle training; Balance Plus, Bikeability and some Level 1 Learn to Ride training.

“It is our aim for all pupils to leave our school as confident cyclists. Cycling is a skill for life and establishes great attitudes towards sustainable travel.

“We've invested in a small fleet of school cycles so that everyone can participate in the Big Pedal.”

Schools can take part in a range of activities to see how many of their children, teachers, parents or carers they can get cycling or scooting.

Cath McEvoy-Carr, executive director for adult and children’s services at Northumberland County Council, said: “This is a great way to get our children and young people involved in exercise whilst also giving them the opportunity to learn about the benefits of cycling, scooting and even walking to school rather than using a vehicle; both for the environment and for their own health and well-being.”

The council recently launched ‘The Big Northumberland Gear Change’.

Tips, advice and stories from residents who have swapped petrol for peddles can be found on the dedicated new website – www.northumberlandgearchange.co.uk – that has been developed to help convince residents to reduce their reliance on cars.