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Big Pedal 2021 urges lockdown kids to get active

Deniz Huseyin
03 February 2021
Dame Storey, with husband Barney Storey and daughter Louisa, is fronting Big Pedal 2021
Dame Storey, with husband Barney Storey and daughter Louisa, is fronting Big Pedal 2021

A competition to boost active travel to school has been modified to enable children learning at home to take part.

The event, organised by walking and cycling charity Sustrans, will this year include active travel around the pupil’s local area, supervised by a parent or guardian and 30 minutes of physical activity completed at home. Resources can be downloaded by teachers and shared online with pupils, said Sustrans.

Big Pedal 2021 will run from 19 to 30 April 2021 with young people across the UK competing to make the most journeys by cycling, walking, scooting or using a wheelchair.

The theme of this year’s event will be ‘Amazing Journeys’ to encourage pupils to see their local areas from a different perspective and learn about the benefits of active travel. 

The competition, now in its eleventh year, is fronted by Dame Sarah Storey, multiple Paralympic gold medal winner in cycling and swimming and Active Travel Commissioner for the Sheffield City Region.

Sustrans cites new data from Sport England, which suggests there has been a fall in the physical activity levels of children due to the pandemic, with almost a third of children in England engaging in less than 30 minutes of daily physical activity in the 2019 – 2020 academic year.

Dame Sarah Storey said: “Health has been in the spotlight over the past year, like never before, and getting out for a cycle ride has been one of the few activities that has been unaffected by the various restrictions.

“Staying active is one of the ways we can all play our part in protecting the NHS throughout our lives, as active people are less likely to fall into ill-health and suffer from the many diseases caused by not getting enough exercise.

“I really hope to see as many people as possible involved this year, it will be a fantastic way to start the spring and to give ourselves a challenge in what has already been a challenging start to the year."

Xavier Brice, chief executive at Sustrans, said: “Whilst we don’t know exactly what the rest of 2021 will bring in terms of coronavirus restrictions, we’re delighted pupils will be able to take part, regardless of where they are learning.

“Active travel has proven its worth over the past year, with more people looking for socially distanced ways to move around and remain active in lockdown. As we look towards life after Covid-19, and schools returning as normal, we hope to see local authorities use the next stage of funding announced in November for cycling and walking to continue to make it easier for families to travel actively to school.

“More people travelling actively for essential every day journeys such as the school run means fewer cars on the road, helping to ease congestion and reduce air pollution around school gates.”

Prizes will include cycle and scooter racks from Broxap, scooters from Micro Scooters, a cycle from Frog Bikes, bike pumps from Cyclehoop and cycling gloves from Loffi.

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