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School cycling event sees three million miles by bike and scooter in 10 days

Joseph Delves
5 May 2017

Calories worth a quarter of a million donuts burnt during Sustrans’ Big Pedal

A 10-day challenge to get pupils, parents, and school staff cycling and scooting to work resulted in one million extra carbon free journeys. Sustainable transport charity Sustrans’ Big Pedal event encouraged participants to ditch their cars for healthier forms of transport this March.

Over half a million pupils from nearly 1,700 UK schools signed up.

By the end of the 10 days they’d racked up three million miles by bike and scooter, equivalent to 119 trips around the world, which in turn saved almost 728 tonnes of CO2 being emitted by cars.

We’re delighted so many schools took part in this year’s Big Pedal, which demonstrates the change that can be achieved when people choose to cycle or scoot instead of travelling by car,' explained Sustrans CEO Xavier Brice.

'At 1.6 miles, the average primary school journey is a distance that can be walked, scooted or cycled as an easy way of building more physical activity into our busy lives.’

Recently retired Olympic champion Joanna Rowsell Shand also stepped in to help with the event. She explained how she was motivated by her own happy memories of being allowed to ride to school.

'It was such an easy way to get to school. It was so quick and it gave me a bit of freedom to travel when I wanted to travel, especially when I went to secondary school.

'It’s a great way to get daily exercise and to help you stay fit and healthy.'

It clearly helped set her on the trajectory to great things. But at a time when only one in 10 of the UK’s children get the recommended 60 minutes of exercise a day, many are being put off cycling to school by poor infrastructure.

Sustrans believes the government should use the recent levy on soft drinks to fund better provision for children wanting to cycle, walk or scoot to school, with improved infrastructure, such as wider pavements and better crossings likely to encourage more parents to leave their car at home.

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