Pennycross wins Plymouth’s Big Pedal challenge

Pupils at Pennycross Primary School are celebrating coming first in Plymouth’s Big Pedal cycling and scooting challenge.

Organised by Sustrans, the annual event challenges schools to get the highest number of pupils, families and staff members arriving on two wheels over a period of 10 days.

Twenty Plymouth schools competed in this year’s Big Pedal, logging more than 16,500 rides to school. At Pennycross, 58 per cent of all pupils cycled or scooted to school every day and, together with teachers, parents, brothers and sisters, clocked up 1,684 rides.

They were followed closely by Woodford Primary School and the Cathedral School of St Mary in second and third place and the most improved school this year was Whitleigh Primary.

The winning schools will be getting a visit from pro BMX rider and Guinness World Record holder Matti Hemmings at the end of June.

Lee Hogden, teacher at Pennycross Primary, said: “The Big Pedal has been a great event for us and it has been fantastic to see the whole school community getting involved. It’s not just been about the competition though; one big benefit has been children starting the day with a burst of activity and exercise, before settling down to learning.”

More than 1,300 schools and nearly half a million pupils across the country took part in this year’s Big Pedal, logging nearly 1.2 million journeys by bike and scooter and saving nearly 850 tonnes of CO2 emissions*.

All the Plymouth schools that took part are also involved in the Bike It Plus project, which is funded by the Council and promotes active travel to school.

Ryan Evans, Sustrans’ Bike It Plus officer in Plymouth, said: “This is the fourth year that the Big Pedal has run in Plymouth and once again we smashed last year’s record. It was great for schools to get some friendly competition going, but the real effects of the Big Pedal are much longer lasting.

“Many parents who left the car at home and let their children ride to school said they found it sociable and enjoyable. Feedback from previous years shows that more parents and children keep travelling actively after the Big Pedal, which has benefits for health, fitness and well-being, as well as cutting down on congestion at the school gates.”