Leighton schools invited to take part in wheely big challenge

Olympic gold medallist Joanna Rowsell Shand
Olympic gold medallist Joanna Rowsell Shand

Primary and secondary schools are invited to get involved in The Big Pedal 2017 which is being backed by double gold medallist Joanna Rowsell Shand.

It’s being organised by national walking and cycling charity Sustrans and takes place from March 20 - 31.

The Big Pedal aims to get more young people cycling and scooting to school with participating schools competing against each other.

This year’s theme is Around the World in 10 days.

One of the best cyclists of her generation, Joanna is headlining the event for the second year running.

The winner of five world titles across individual and team events – as well as gold at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, she believes cycling is crucial to young people’s health, confidence and independence.

She said: “The safer and more comfortable they feel on their bikes, the more they’ll enjoy it.

“The Big Pedal is a fantastic way for kids to cycle together while learning the rules of the road in a fun, engaging way.”

Sustrans has been working with schools in Bedfordshire since 2012. Last year it organised 421 activities across 32 schools. Funded by Central Beds Council, these sessions were attended by more than 43,000 children, parents and teachers and as a result levels of cycling among pupils more than doubled.

Sustrans spokesman Matt Easter said: “The Big Pedal helps schools to encourage whole families to lead more active lives.

“The average primary school school journey is just 1.6 miles – the perfect distance to walk or cycle to reduce car traffic and pollution at the school gates.”

To celebrate the finale there is an option to join Sustrans superhero fundraising day. All schools will be entered into daily prize draws for rewards.

> Ask your child’s school to sign up for The Big Pedal 2017. For more information visit www.bigpedal.org.uk