Schools throughout Sefton joined the charity Sustrans and Sefton Council to celebrate a year of successes getting children cycling the school run in the region’s Bike It project.
Sustrans, the charity that helps more people walk and cycle short journeys, has worked with over 40 schools in the area, with incredible results. Surveys of the participating schools show that 17% of children cycle regularly and 51% sometimes cycle, compared to just 2.8% in 2007 before the project began.
This week children, teachers and parents from 16 schools in the area join a ‘thankyou’ party with tea and cake at the Ramada Southport, to hear about results from 2017 and inspiring stories from other schools.
In 2017 there were 200 bike rides throughout the area and 15208 children, 1842 adults and 289 school staff took part in cycle activities, with the help and support of school staff, Sefton Road Safety team, local PCSOs and former Bike It officer Mary Kelland.
This year a new regular event called ‘Wheely Wednesdays’ got children and adults cycling and scooting to compete for a £200 prize for their school. St Gregory’s Catholic Primary School averaged 58% of children arriving to school by bike or scooter, while all schools averaged 20%. The school who got the most adults cycling in was Our Lady of Lourdes with 110 participants over the whole competition. Sustrans is now recruiting for its annual Big Pedal competition in Sefton.
Sustrans schools officer Amanda Dufresne said: “Sefton schools have done amazingly well this year with some schools regularly getting over half children cycling or scooting their journeys. This event is a big ‘thank you’ for all their enthusiasm to get active and healthy on the school run, and a chance to showcase the fantastic results to other schools which might to encourage more cycling and walking. This year’s Big Pedal competition is a great chance for schools to try out cycling and get the chance to win prizes.”
Helen Gambon, a Year 2 teacher at Redgate school in Formby said: “The cycling events bring the school together for a shared experience and encourages parents to ride as well. Last year one of our mums won a voucher at Wheely Wednesday. Events like this get you motivated and inspired. A lot of my children couldn’t ride a bike, but after one morning session they were able to cycle. It’s a skill for life”.
Jean Hunt at Sefton Council says: “I’ve been to loads of Bike It schools and you can’t help but get carried away by the enthusiasm of the people involved. The children really enjoy it. In some schools, children may not achieve much in their school life, but they can experience a massive achievement in getting their cycling certificates.”
The Big Pedal 2018, which runs from Monday 23 April to Friday 4 May, will see pupils, parents and teachers across the UK leave their cars at home and get on their bikes and scooters for their journeys to and from school.
This year world record-breaking cyclist Mark Beaumont is calling on families across the UK to take up the challenge of ‘Around the world in 10 days’ in the Big Pedal.