At least seven schools in the Lancaster and Morecambe area will begin an exciting cycle race called The Big Pedal next week (7th March), competing against around 260,000 children from 800 schools across the UK, to be the fastest school.
The race, powered by UK charity Sustrans and funded by the bicycle industry through its Bike Hub, will last for three weeks and follows a similar format to the Tour de France; each day is a different time trial, with different stages, from long flat sprints to hillier mountainous climbs. The more children, parents and teachers that cycle in to school on each day, the quicker time the school is awarded for each stage. The school with the lowest time overall will be declared winner.
Over 2800 children from the local area will get the chance to be involved with The Big Pedal, which aims to inspire and encourage pupils, parents and teachers to cycle on a regular basis. The race is open to any school within the UK and it is free to take part. Schools can sign up to take part in the entire three week challenge, or register for the special one-day stages that will take place in the last week of the race – which is also Bike to School Week (21 – 25 March). Registration for the race is open until March 4th so there’s still time to enter.
Registered local schools so far are Bowerham Primary School, Ellel St John the Evangelist C of E Primary School, Galgate, Great Wood Primary School, Morecambe, Heysham High School Sports College, Morecambe, Slyne-with-Hest St Luke’s CE Primary School, St Wilfrids’ C of E Primary School, Halton and Torrisholme Community Primary School
“We’re really pleased with how many schools have signed up to the race," say Annie Cousins and Kathy Bashford, Sustrans Bike It officers for Lancaster, "and there’s still time to register, so we hope that even more schools will be competing by the time the race starts.
“The race will act as a great way for the whole school community to join together as they take on other schools from across the country – it’s a really great competition.”
First prize for national winners of the race is a spectacular day with the M.A.D cycle stunt team, who have performed for people all over the world, from Pepsi-Cola in Saudi Arabia to Formula One driver Jacques Villeneuve at his birthday party. National runners up win a Minipod bike and scooter storage system worth over £1,000 for their school.
The fastest school in each region will win an amazing bike workshop kit consisting of 78 bike tools, a shadow board to hold them all in and a bicycle work stand for all your school's cycle repair needs supplied by Fisher Outdoor and Weldtite. Fisher Outdoor has also provided five cycle repair tool kits and floor pumps that can be won in the daily challenges in the last week of the Big Pedal.
The Big Pedal, delivered by Sustrans and funded by the cycle industry, celebrates the fun that cycling brings children. Learning to ride a bike is a key milestone in children’s lives, and the thrill of getting about independently is an important part of growing up. Bikeability, backed up with other wider skills programmes, gives them the confidence to ride safely, and the Big Pedal shows that children everywhere can cycle safely to school.
• To see up-to-the-minute information on which schools in your area have registered to take part, go to http://thebigpedal.org.uk/schools/map
• More information on the national Big Pedal campaign at: http://thebigpedal.org.uk