It’s been a fantastic Big Pedal year with a record-breaking number of schools taking part in our annual challenge. It was great to see so many families ditching the car and getting to schools under their own steam.
Over half a million school runs cycled, scooted or walked
Our Big Pedal, the UK’s largest cycling, scooting and walking competition, has resulted in school children across London making over half a million school runs by bike, scooter or on foot. In a record-breaking year, 239 London schools took part in the 10-day challenge.
School Streets for cleaner air
As part of the Big Pedal, we also worked with seven London schools, their local authorities and the local communities to trial School Streets where they closed their streets to motor vehicles during pick up and drop off times to create a safer, less polluted car-free environment for families to cycle, walk and scoot.
Making change happen
Big Pedal demonstrates that giving people incentives to change habits and opt to walk, cycle or scoot their everyday journeys helps to create healthier, happier communities, as people ditch their cars for an active and more sociable school run.
Sustrans’ Head of Built Environment in London, Giulio Ferrini said: "Our work with schools across London shows that we can make change happen. It is shocking that every school in London is in a location which is breaching World Health Organisation limits.
Our work with schools across London shows that we can make change happen. It is shocking that every school in London is in a location which is breaching World Health Organisation limits.
“ Our work with schools across London shows that we can make change happen. It is shocking that every school in London is in a location which is breaching World Health Organisation limits. ”
"It is great to see more and more people getting involved in our Big Pedal challenge. Changing the way young people travel is fundamental to their health and wellbeing. Schools and councils need to take bold decisions to make this happen.
"We are passionate about playing a major role in helping London meet the Mayor’s target of 80% of all trips in the capital to be made on foot, by cycle or by public transport by 2041. We are doing this by continuing our work in schools and the communities around our great city to make people feel they can leave the car at home and travel more actively."
Claudine Richardson, Bike It Champion at St Richard Reynolds Catholic College in Richmond said: "We decided to take part in the Big Pedal this year as a survey of our students revealed that air pollution and congestion outside the school gate was a big concern.
"During the competition, we saw a huge surge in the number of pupils walking, scooting or cycling to school and this has continued even after the challenge. It is fantastic to see the pupils come in so energised in the morning after a brisk walk or cycle."
Keeping healthy and fit
For London, all the pupil journeys to school made by bike, scooter or on foot during the 10-day challenge is estimated to have burnt over 47.6 million calories in total - the equivalent of 196,906 doughnuts.
According to London’s Childhood Obesity Taskforce, nearly 40 per cent of all London’s children are overweight or obese. Walking, scooting or cycling to school could play a key role in helping children get their recommended hour of physical activity a day and enable them to maintain a healthy weight.
Greater London Authority research has shown that if every Londoner walked or cycled for 20 minutes a day, it would save the NHS £1.7bn in treatment costs over the next 25 years. This includes 85,000 fewer people being treated for hip fractures, 19,200 fewer people suffering from dementia, and an estimated 18,800 fewer Londoners suffering from depression. It is the ambition of the Mayor that Londoners walk or cycle for at least 20 minutes every day – currently, only 34 per cent of Londoners manage to do this on any given day.
Organised by Sustrans, and sponsored by Micro Scooters and Tonik Energy, the Big Pedal, which took place from 25 March to 5 April, is the largest inter-school cycling, walking and scooting competition of its kind in the UK.
If you would like the street outside your school closed to motor traffic during pick-up and drop-off times, get in touch and we can help.