Selected schools will take part in Sustran's 'Bike It' programme, receiving support from a Bike It Officer to help students gain more confidence cycling.
Participating students will have the opportunity to benefit from curriculum-linked sessions, led rides as well as cycle skill workshops. The work promoting active travel helps students travel more independently and keeps cars off the road, with the related health and mental well-being benefits.
All families and schools in North Somerset are also invited to take part in The Big Pedal 2021 - the UK’s largest cycling, walking, wheeling and scooting competition for primary and secondary schools. It runs from Monday 19 to Friday 30 April and will see young people across the UK compete with one another to make the most active journeys whether they are travelling to school or learning from home. Both Bike It and the Big Pedal support healthy lives and encourage children to get moving and partake in the advised 60 minutes of physical activity each day. The initiatives play an important role in getting back to normal after lockdown, with new data from Sport England suggesting there has been a decline in the physical activity levels of children due to the pandemic. Almost a third of children in England did less than 30 minutes of daily physical activity in the 2019 – 2020 academic year.
Cllr Bridget Petty, North Somerset Council's executive member for climate emergency and engagement, said: “Walking, scooting and cycling plays an important role in creating a greener and healthier North Somerset. We are pleased to be working with Sustrans to offer these initiatives, which are being run alongside our work to ensure safe walking and cycling routes to school.
“Active travel to school is part of our wider Climate Emergency action plan designed to reduce carbon emissions from activity in North Somerset. At the moment 42% of our carbon emissions come from transport so it’s essential that consider how we travel.”
James Cleeton, regional director at Sustrans, said: “We’re excited that the Big Pedal is returning for 2021, after what has been a truly difficult year for all, and the need to make time to incorporate physical activity into our daily routines seems important now more than ever.
“More people travelling actively for essential everyday journeys such as the school run means fewer cars on the road, helping to ease congestion and reduce air pollution around school gates.” Another fun and easy way to get involved in this year’s Big Pedal is to enter the family competition. Share pictures or a short video of you and your children getting active between 19 and 30 April using #BigPedalWin on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Ask your child’s school to sign up to Sustrans Big Pedal 2021 - find out more at: www.bigpedal.org.uk