Pupils bike their way to big success in Thetford

PUPILS from five schools in Thetford made a staggering 8,366 journeys by bike to school and back, over three weeks in March as part of a national cycle race.

The Big Pedal saw more than 800 schools across the UK compete to be the fastest.

The race, powered by UK charity Sustrans and funded by the cycle industry through its Bike Hub, was created to inspire and encourage children to cycle on a regular basis.

The Bishops CEVA School came first amongst participating schools in Norfolk and 23rd out of the 828 schools that entered from across the country. On the penultimate day of the race the school saw 200 children cycle to the school.

The school won a series of cycle sports sessions from Tri-a-Sports coaching, which they will receive in the summer term.

Georgie Burr, Sustrans Bike It officer for Thetford, said: “I was amazed at the effort from children, parents and teachers for this year’s race, it was a huge success.

“It was brilliant to see bike sheds and playgrounds full of bikes from children who had got to school under their own steam. Some 8,366 journeys were made by bike in 15 days, 2,322 of which were made by supporters. I really feel that Thetford has the bike bug.”

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Pontrhydyfen Primary School in Port Talbot, Wales, claimed first prize for the fastest national time.

This year’s race followed a similar format to the Tour de France. Each day was a different time trial, with different stages, from long flat sprints to hillier mountainous climbs. The more children, parents and teachers that cycled in to school on each day, the quicker time the school was awarded for each stage.

Sustrans works with 10 schools in Thetford, in partnership with Thetford Healthy Town to help children overcome whatever it is that is preventing them from cycling to school.

Meanwhile, Raleigh Infant School and Admirals Junior School, both in Thetford, received their Bronze School Mark Award from sustainable transport charity, Sustrans, for their efforts in quadrupling the amount of children cycling to school.

Both were presented with awards to congratulate children, parents and teachers for their efforts – which included changing their cycle storage to allow for the new demand. Over the last year, Sustrans Bike It officer Georgie Burr has organised various events and classroom based curriculum activities to give the children the knowledge and skills to enable them to cycle safely.

She said: “I am so pleased to award the bronze school mark.

“The efforts made by my champions has meant that these schools are now places where cycling is part of the school day.

“The schools are situated next to another and on the days when I visit, I love watching all the smiling children arriving on their bikes.”