Posted: Sat 28th May 2016

Litchard Pupils Scoot And Cycle To Big Pedal Glory /
This article is old - Published: Saturday, May 28th, 2016

Over half a million children across the UK made an extra special effort to travel to school on scooters and bikes earlier this month to compete in The Big Pedal 2016, and pupils from Litchard Primary School in Bridgend clocked up the most journeys on two wheels in Wales! ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Big Pedal ran for a fortnight, and during a competitive five-day challenge an astonishing 82 per cent of the daily journeys made by Litchard pupils were on either a bike or scooter, with parents encouraged to leave their cars at home for the school run. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The school’s pro-active approach saw their pupils make a total of 2,970 ‘active journeys’ over the entire fortnight – more than double those made at Porthcawl Primary School, which was the next best in Bridgend County Borough. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In total, a spoke-tacular 17,224 ‘active’ journeys were made in the county borough, with 23 local schools taking part. Litchard came out top in Wales and 20th in the UK, while Porthcawl Primary were eighth in Wales and 64th in the UK. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Coychurch Primary School were ranked tenth in Wales and 116th in the UK, while Trelales and Oldcastle were the county borough’s fourth and fifth highest schools. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Organised by cycling charity Sustrans, and supported locally by Bridgend County Borough Council, the Big Pedal is the UK’s largest inter-school cycling and scooting challenge. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Bridgend County Borough Council’s Sustrans Schools Officer Roger Dutton said: “Yet again, the response to The Big Pedal was phenomenal. It’s interesting to note that this year in Bridgend County Borough we topped the 10,000 mark for the number of journeys made by scooter, which just goes to show how massively popular they are. We also recorded more than 1,000 journeys being made by teachers and parents, and I’d like to thank everyone for their support.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In addition to co-ordinating The Big Pedal, Sustrans works with over 120 schools in Wales to give children the skills and information necessary to travel actively to school on a regular basis. Bicycle training, route planning and basic bike maintenance are all parts of the Active Journeys project, funded by Welsh Government, which is helping to treble the levels of regular cycling to school. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Councillor Huw David, Bridgend County Borough Council’s Deputy Leader, said: “Every year it is always very encouraging to see so many of our schools take part in The Big Pedal, as an active and healthy school run not only helps children to keep fit but it is also good for the environment. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Local schools have done remarkably well, with three ranked among the top ten in Wales, and five among the top twenty. Huge congratulations to Litchard for flying the flag for active travel.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Jane Lorimer, National Director of Sustrans Cymru, said: “I am thrilled to congratulate the children and staff at Litchard Primary – they have put Bridgend firmly on the map for cycling and scooting in Wales with their Big Pedal success. First place in the five-day challenge in Wales is a great achievement, with an average 82 per cent of pupils at Litchard coming to school by bike or using a scooter. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“For two weeks during the Big Pedal the children had a fun, healthy start to the day with increased physical activity and reduced traffic congestion around the school gates. Schools taking part in the Big Pedal realise what a difference it makes to the start of the day if children and their carers use active travel for the school journey. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The competition is a great way to taste how changing travel is achievable and has a positive effect on the whole school community. Working with Sustrans helps schools to sustain these benefits once the competition is over.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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