Joanna Rowsell Shand backs the Big Pedal
Families across the country are being invited to get involved in The Big Pedal 2017 – a national challenge to get more young people cycling and scooting to school, backed by double Olympic gold medallist cyclist Joanna Rowsell Shand.
One of the best British cyclists of her generation, Joanna has won five world titles across individual and team events and gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. This is the second year that she will be supporting The Big Pedal.
Joanna is a great advocate for children’s cycling, and explains what she gets involved in The Big Pedal:
“Cycling is great for young people’s health, confidence and independence. The safer and more comfortable they feel on their bikes, the more they will enjoy cycling. The Big Pedal campaign is a fantastic way for kids to cycle together whilst learning about the rules of the road in a fun, engaging way. I hope this year as many schools as possible will take part in the UK’s largest school cycling and scooting event.”
When is the Big Pedal 2017 and how does it work?
The Big Pedal 2017, which runs from Monday 20 to Friday 31 March, will see participants across the UK leave their cars at home and get on their bikes and scooters for their journeys to and from school.
The Big Pedal 2017 is open to individual classes as well as whole schools, with hundreds of thousands of pupils expected to take part.
Last year more than 1,500 schools signed up to take part and teachers, parents, siblings and pupils made more than a million journeys (1,179,900) to school on their bikes and scooters.
To celebrate the finale of the challenge there is also the option to join Sustrans superhero fundraising day.
All schools will be entered into daily prize draws for rewards, including bike and BMX stunt shows and equipment if more than 15% of a school cycle or scoot on each day of the challenge.
For schools unable to take part in the main challenge there is also a one-day version, which can include cycling and scooting activities in the school day as well as on the journey to school.
Why is the Big Pedal needed?
The proportion of children walking and cycling to school has been declining since 1995, with the number being driven to primary school increasing each year – as many as one in four cars on the road during the morning peak are on the school run.
It is really sad (but not surprising given our lack of cycling infrastructure) that children in the UK now lag far behind their peers in other countries for active travel. Recent studies show that only about 2-3% of UK children cycle to school compared to 49% of all Dutch primary school children.
Ben Merry, Behaviour Change Coordinator for Education at Sustrans, explains why the school run can be a great way to increase cycling levels:
The average primary school journey is just 1.6 miles – the perfect distance to walk or cycle. The Big Pedal is fun, inclusive and it helps schools to encourage whole families to lead more active lives, as well as reducing car traffic and pollution around the school gates. Although the competition runs for two weeks, it has a lasting effect on the way that the school community travel to school – last year 75% of schools that took part in the Big Pedal said pupils continued to cycle and scoot to school following the event.
How does my school sign up for The Big Pedal?
If your child’s school is not already signed up to The Big Pedal 2017, ask your PE co-ordinator or Head Teacher to visit www.bigpedal.org.uk for more information.
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