Pupils at over 30 schools in Central Bedfordshire recently pedaled an amazing 31,519 scooter and bike journeys to school during the national Big Pedal competition, which ran from 23 April to 4 May. The Big Pedal is a national challenge between schools to get more young people cycling and scooting.
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, and the competition is weighted by school size so that everyone has a fair chance of winning. The greater the proportion who scoot and cycle each day, the more points their school earns. A school’s best five days determines their final position. Alternatively, they can log journeys on all ten days if they wish, or just take part in one day. Participating schools were also entered into daily prize draws for rewards that included bike stunt shows and cycle equipment.
Top of the table this year was Central Bedfordshire school Fairfield Park Lower, who won the 5-day national large primary school challenge, with 81.2% of pupils cycling or scooting. Moggerhanger Lower wheeled in second, with a fabulous 75% of pupils cycling and scooting during the two-week challenge. Moggerhanger Lower and Slip End Village School also both achieved top 100 national placings. Congratulations also go to Laburnum Lower and Gothic Mede Academy who both contended their first ever Big Pedal.
All Saints Academy came third in the national one-day secondary school challenge. Etonbury Academy reached fourth place in the secondary school five-day challenge, and also won a prize of 35 cycle bags for their pupils, with Priory Academy gaining sixth place. Edward Peake Middle School also participated and gained a massive 150% uplift in their daily scores compared to last year’s figures.
Over half a million children at 1,600 schools cycled and scootered to school across the UK during this year’s competition, completing almost one million active journeys over the two weeks. Schools will be presented with plaques and certificates, along with some special prizes of scooter pods and cycle equipment.
Councillor Nigel Young Executive Member for Regeneration, said: "The number of children walking and cycling to school is on the decline, with the number of children being driven to their primary school increasing each year. Yet the standard primary school journey is just 1.6 miles – the perfect distance to cycle, scooter or walk.
"The Big Pedal has been a great way for families to think about ways of getting to school without using the car. As well as being fun, the 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 real impact on reducing congestion and pollution around the school gates."
The Big Pedal UK is run by Sustrans, supported by us. Sustrans is a charity whose aim is to make it easier for people to walk and cycle.
Alister Barclay, our Sustrans Schools Officer, said "Pupils always tell us that they want to cycle and scoot more to school. The Big Pedal gives them the opportunity to do this and it’s great to see how the Central Bedfordshire schools took up the challenge. We’ve been working with some of these schools for over five years, and it’s always great to see more and more pupils arriving at their school on bikes and scooters."