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Bike to School Week set to roll through the UK

Schools are invited to join in the event, celebrating cycling and the benefits of active travel, when it takes place from September 23-27

Posted by Julian Owen | August 28, 2019 | Health & wellbeing

Schools across the UK are invited to join in this year’s Bike to School Week, taking place from September 23–27. 

Organised by Sustrans, the walking and cycling charity, and supported by the Bikeability Trust, Bike to School Week celebrates pedalling to school and the benefits of active travel for children. 

Figures show that only 2% of primary school children in England currently travel to school by cycle. This is a stark contrast to cycling levels elsewhere, such as the Netherlands, where cycling is the main mode of transport for 49% of the same age group. These statistics suggest more needs to be done in the UK to make cycling an easy, safe, and appealing option for travelling to school. 

A range of resources are available to support schools throughout Bike to School Week, including a five-day pack of daily activities to be completed in class, posters, and a video guide with simple practices to check a bike is safe to ride. The activities aim to inspire pupils to think about their journeys to school, understand the benefits of active travel, and consider the causes and effects of air pollution. 

Beyond the classroom, families are invited to join two competitions:

 - The Bike to School Week Sustrans photo competition
   Sharing photos of cycling to or from school, with the hashtag #SustransWin, could see one lucky pupil win a brand new Frog Bike. Parents are also invited to download the Sustrans  guide offering tips on cycling, walking and scooting to school

 - The Bikeability Trust story competition
   All entrants of stories about riding to and from school during Bike to School Week will be entered into a prize draw to win a brand new Carrera Abyss 24 inch wheel bicycle: To enter, visit: bikeability.org.uk/your-stories

 Sustrans CEO, Xavier Brice, said: “Bike to School Week is a great way to show the benefits of cycling to school for children across the UK, and to promote the positive impact that an active lifestyle can have on children’s wellbeing and overall health. 

“We’re calling on schools across the country to take part, use the new resources, and inspire children and parents to travel actively to school. We also hope Bike to School Week will send a clear message to the UK government to prioritise a safer and more pleasant environment for children to walk and cycle to school.” 

A survey conducted by the Bikeability Trust of more than 1,000 people with children aged 12 and under showed that 63% of parents think cycling is an easy way to increase their child’s physical activity levels. The Bikeability Trust will be working throughout the week in a bid to inspire pupils who have completed Bikeability training to continue cycling confidently between home and school.  

Undertaking professional cycle training can play a huge part in overcoming some of the initial fears of getting out and about on the roads, and will equip young riders with the competence and confidence to cycle well and share the road appropriately with other road users. 

Bikeability training is available through local authorities, and parents can ask their child’s school about what Bikeability training they have planned for the year. 

Paul Robison, CEO at the Bikeability Trust, said: “Bike to School Week is an excellent chance for children who have done their Bikeability training to put their skills into practice and so develop longer-term cycling habits for the future. They can then go on to explore not only the trip to and from school, but also around their neighbourhoods to meet friends, go to the swimming pool, or nip down to the shops.

“We also hope that Bike to School Week will encourage schools to offer more cycle training to children who have not yet had the chance to gain the essential life skill of being able to cycle competently.” 

For more information on Bike to School Week, including access to resources, please visit: sustrans.org.uk/bike-to-school-week

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