More than 1,300 schools and 570,000 pupils are taking on the challenge of ‘Around the world in 10 days’, as part of the Big Pedal 2018 with world record breaking cyclist Mark Beaumont.
The UK-wide event, which runs from Monday 23 April to Friday 4 May, will see pupils, parents and teachers leave their cars at home and get on their bikes and scooters for their journeys 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 or scooter. The theme of this year’s Big Pedal, ‘Around the world in 10 days’, links to key parts of the geography curriculum, such as being able to name the world’s continents and oceans.
Endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont, who holds the Guinness World Record for cycling around the world in 78 days, is backing the Big Pedal 2018. After 18,000 miles on the road last summer, covering 240 miles a day and taking in 16 countries, Mark smashed the previous record by 44 days.
Participating primary and secondary schools will receive a pack of teaching resources, including a map of the world for pupils to track their progress. Pupils will follow Mark’s route, learning about the countries he passed through on his trip via a series of fact cards provided as part of the resources pack.
Setting off from the UK, stops along the way include France, Germany, Latvia, China, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and Spain. Each country’s card will include details such as the capital city and population size, as well as a piece of cycling or scooting related trivia. Children, parents and teachers will also be able to log, track and compare their journeys online using the Big Pedal website.
Commenting on the event, Mark said:
“I’m delighted to be supporting the Big Pedal 2018. It’s a great initiative for getting more young people on their bikes and scooters, building their confidence and independence in a fun and engaging way.
“Encouraging young people to cycle and scoot from an early age not only boosts physical and mental health, it also helps build good habits for independent and active travel into teenage and adult life. I hope as many schools as possible will take part in this year’s ‘Around the World in 10 days’ Sustrans’ Big Pedal challenge.”
According to government guidelines,children and young people aged 5 to 18 need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day .
Walking, scooting or cycling to school is one way of boosting children’s activity levels and helping them maintain a healthy weight, while reducing congestion and air pollution around the school gates.
Teachers find that pupils who walk and cycle arrive at school more relaxed, alert and ready to start the day than those who travel by car  .
Organised by Sustrans, and sponsored by Micro Scooters and Tonik, the Big Pedal is the largest competition of its kind in the UK.
Last year nearly 1,700 schools registered to take part, with teachers, parents, siblings and pupils making more than a million journeys to school by bike or scooter.
The Big Pedal 2018 is open to individual classes as well as whole schools, with hundreds of thousands of pupils expected to take part.
 Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES - 2012) Evaluation of Sustrans' sustainable transport infrastructure work surrounding schools