World record breaking cyclist Mark Beaumont is calling on families across NI to take up the challenge of ‘Around the world in 10 days’ as part of Sustrans Big Pedal 2018 – a UK-wide event to get more young people cycling and scooting to school.
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.
Organised by walking and cycling charity Sustrans, and sponsored by Micro Scooters and Tonik, the Big Pedal is the largest competition of its kind in the UK.
During the 10 days participating primary and secondary schools will compete with one another to make the most journeys by bike or scooter. Endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont, who holds the Guinness World Record for cycling around the world in 78 days, is backing the Big Pedal 2018.
After 18,000 miles on the road last summer, covering 240 miles a day and taking in 16 countries, Mark smashed the previous record by 44 days.
The theme of this year’s Big Pedal is ‘Around the world in 10 days’, with pupils tracking their progress on a map of the world, learning about the countries Mark passed through on his trip.
Mark said: “I’m delighted to be supporting the Big Pedal 2018. It’s a great initiative for getting more young people on their bikes and scooters, building their confidence and independence in a fun and engaging way.
“Encouraging young people to cycle and scoot from an early age not only boosts physical and mental health, it also helps build good habits for independent and active travel into teenage and adult life. I hope as many schools as possible will take part in this year’s ‘Around the World in 10 days’ Sustrans’ Big Pedal challenge.”
According to government guidelines, children and young people aged 5 to 18 need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day (1). Furthermore, teachers find that pupils who walk and cycle arrive at school more relaxed, alert and ready to start the day than those who travel by car (2).
Beth Harding, Active School Travel Manager at Sustrans, said: “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 (3).
“As well as being fun, Big Pedal can help kick-start entire families into leading more active lives, while reducing congestion and air pollution around the school gates.”
Last year nearly 144 schools registered to take part across Northern Ireland, with teachers, parents, siblings and pupils making more than a million journeys to school by bike or scooter.
Participants travelled almost 175,000 miles – that is equivalent to seven trips around the world – and saved almost 43 tonnes of CO2 being emitted by cars.
With more than 4,400 gallons of fuel not being used on the school run, parents also saved over £24,000 on fuel.
Ask your child’s school to sign up to Sustrans’ Big Pedal 2018. For more information visit bigpedal.org.uk