Schools across Central Bedfordshire are encouraging children, teachers and parents to jump on their bikes and scooters to take part in The Big Pedal which is a national challenge between schools to get more young people cycling and scooting.
The competition, which runs from Monday 23 April to Friday 4 May, will encourage participants to leave their cars at home and choose two wheels for their school journey instead.
The annual inter-school competition is the largest of its kind, with pupils from schools right across the UK competing against each other. It is open to individual classes, as well as whole schools. The greater the proportion who scoot and cycle each day, the more points their school earns. A school's best five days will determine their final position, but they can log journeys on all ten days if they wish, or just take part in one day. Schools will also be entered into daily prize draws for rewards that include bike stunt shows and cycle equipment.
This year's challenge is being backed by world record breaking cyclist Mark Beaumont, who holds the Guinness World Record for cycling around the world in 78 days. So appropriately, the theme is "Around the World in 10 days", with pupils tracking their progress on a map of the world and learning about the countries Mark passed through on his trip.
Councillor Nigel Young, our Executive Member for Regeneration, said: "The proportion of English children walking and cycling to school has declined since 1995, with the number being driven to their primary school increasing each year. Yet the average primary school journey is just 1.6 miles – the perfect distance to cycle, scooter or walk.
"As well as being fun, The Big Pedal competition promotes active travel, healthy lifestyles and road awareness. Last year 75% of schools that took part in the Big Pedal said that pupils continued to cycle and scoot to school after the event, so we also hope to see a lasting reduction in congestion and pollution around the school gates."
Last year, 33 schools from Central Bedfordshire took part, with over 2,000 families amassing 7,910 bike journeys and 9,396 trips by scooter – a fantastic achievement and a high target to beat this year! Ask your child’s school to sign up to The Big Pedal.