Record numbers of schoolchildren in Cumbria will be riding their bikes and scooters for a national active travel to school challenge later this month.
Nearly 60 schools in the county have so far signed up to take part in the Big Pedal challenge, which runs from 20-31 March and encourages children, parents and staff to leave their cars at home and take to two wheels for journeys to school.
Cumbrian-born cyclist Henrietta Colborne, a rising star of British road racing, has praised the county’s schools for backing the challenge and especially the number of schools joining for the first time this year.
“It’s great to see so many schools in my home county are taking part in the Big Pedal this year. I used to love cycling to school at Appleby and I’d definitely encourage children and their parents to take up cycling. It’s not only good for your health but great fun to get out on a bike with family and friends,” said Henrietta, a former national junior champion who currently rides for the Dutch-based SwaboLadies cycling team.
The Big Pedal is an annual event organised by Sustrans, with support in Cumbria from the county council. Last year around 34 schools in Cumbria took part, clocking up 19,054 journeys by bike and scooter during the two-week challenge.
Councillor Keith Little, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for transport, said: “The Big Pedal goes from strength to strength with more schools in Cumbria taking part this year than ever before. From past experience we know many families choose to carry on cycling and scooting to school long after the Big Pedal challenge finishes. It’s a fun and healthy alternative to using the car and helps reduce congestion on our roads.
“The county council is keen to encourage people of all ages to take up cycling and we recently secured government funding for the next three years to ensure thousands of schoolchildren in Cumbria will continue to receive Bikeability training to improve their cycling and road awareness skills.”
Schools in Cumbria will again be competing for prizes in this year’s Big Pedal, including a cyclepod or scooterpod for the top large primary school notching up the most two-wheeled journeys during the challenge
Schools in Cumbria confirmed as taking part in this year’s Big Pedal include:
Allerdale - Primary schools: Broughton, Crosscannonby St John, Ewanrigg Junior, Northside, Plumbland, Fairfield, St Mary’s Catholic, Workington; Victoria Junior, Workington, Aspatria Richmond Hill. Secondary school: Netherhall, Maryport, Beacon Hill, Aspatria, Solway Community College, Workington Academy.
Barrow - Primary schools: Yarlside, Cambridge, Chapel Street Infant and Nursery, Dalton St Mary’s, Greengate Junior, Victoria Academy, Kirkby-in-Furness.
Carlisle - Primary schools: Crosby on Eden, Cummersdale, Great Corby, Houghton, Kingmoor Infant and Nursery, Warwick Bridge, Pennine Way, Stanwix.
Copeland - Primary schools: Distington Community School, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary, Bransty, Seascale, Hensingham. Secondary school: West Lakes Academy.
Eden - Primary schools: Lazonby, Plumpton, Shap Endowed, Warcop, Crosby Ravensworth, Milburn, Orton, Patterdale, Kirkoswald, Appleby.
South Lakeland - Primary schools: Arnside National, Beetham, Cartmel, Dean Gibson Catholic Primary, Kendal, Grasmere, St Oswald’s, Burneside, St Mary’s Catholic Primary, Ulverston, Storth, Old Hutton, Heron Hill, Kendal, Penny Bridge, Langdale, Castle Park, Ghyllside, both Kendal. Secondary schools: John Ruskin, Coniston, The Queen Katherine, Kendal.
There is still time for schools to enter this year’s Big Pedal. For more information and to sign up, go to bigpedal.org.uk.
Picture: Henrietta Colborne and also of children taking part in the Big Pedal last year