Families in Bedford invited to take on UK’s biggest cycling, walking and scooting school challenge

Big Pedal 2019

Sustrans Active Travel Officer, Yo Higton, with pupils from Castle Newnham in Bedford ahead of the launch of the Big Pedal 2019.

21 March 2019

Families in Bedford are backing this year's Big Pedal competition ahead of its launch next week.  So far 20 schools in Bedford have signed up for the UK’s largest cycling, walking and scooting challenge for schools - more than double the nine that took part in 2018. Across the country, 2,145 schools have signed up with 692,959 pupils taking part, although this figure is growing by the day. 

This year’s competition is backed by Angellica Bell, British television, radio presenter and cycling advocate, who took on the ‘Tour de Celeb’ in 2016 where she found her love for cycling. It will run from Monday 25 March to Friday 5 April and will encourage young people from across the UK to travel by bike, foot or scooter for their journey to and from school. During the 10 days, participating primary and secondary schools will compete with one another to make the most journeys by bike, foot or scooter.

The Big Pedal is now a regular feature and last year nine schools in Bedford embraced the competition recording an impressive 9,028 journeys. One school that took part in last year’s contest was Castle Newhnam, achieving a national position of 337 with more than 22% of pupils taking part.

The school are looking forward to taking part again this year. Commenting ahead of the competition, Year 3 Teacher and Sustrans School Champion Anna Humphries, said; “Last year the number of children scooting and biking to school increased during the two-week slot and more parents also made the effort. We had a lot of staff who cycled in and it encouraged them to think about travelling this way more often instead of bringing the car in. This year we are looking forward to including walking to school as well. The number of children who live locally means that they will encourage their family to make the effort to increase their daily exercise! We also have Year 5 and 6 taking part on the North site.”

The theme of this year’s Big Pedal is ‘Travelling around the body’, with pupils tracking their progress on a wall chart, learning about the human body and how active travel benefits their health as they go.

Angellica Bell, who is backing the campaign, said: “I’m delighted to be supporting this year’s Big Pedal. It’s a fantastic way to encourage more children to cycle, walk or scoot – doing wonders for their health and the environment around them. I hope as many schools as possible sign up for the challenge and inspire children and families across the UK to get on their feet, scooter or bike for their journey to school.”

Matt Easter, Sustrans England Director Midlands and East, said: “The Big Pedal may only run for two weeks but can leave a lasting effect on the way children travel to school. It can show parents what’s possible and how easy it can be to leave the car at home for a few extra journeys a week. We are confident that 2019 will be even bigger and better than 2018!”

The Big Pedal 2019 is open to individual classes as well as whole schools, with hundreds of thousands of pupils expected to take part. For schools unable to take part in the main challenge, there is also a one-day version, which can include cycling, walking and scooting activities during the school day as well as on the journey to school.

Schools and classes will be entered into a daily prize draw for rewards, including scooters, if more than 15% of a school cycle, walk or scoot on each day of the challenge.

Ask your child’s school to sign up to Sustrans Big Pedal 2019. Please visit www.bigpedal.org.uk for more information.