Have you heard about Big Pedal? It’s all about encouraging families to move more and scoot or cycle to school. My four little ones and I are excited to be taking part. In fairness, any initiative to get us more active as a family is always welcome, and it couldn’t have come at a better time with the weather finally brightening up a bit.
I’m not what you’d call a fitness enthusiast (understatement of the century), but I am still pretty active (having 4 kids helps!) and I’ve always loved walking with an end goal in mind. Going for a walk for the sake of getting some fresh air is not my cup of tea, but I love going to places by foot instead of automatically getting in the car. If it takes an hour or less to get there, I’ll generally opt for a good old walk.
I’ve always walked with a stride in my step and a lot of people struggle to keep up with me when I’m on a mission to get somewhere quickly. My children tend to pick up their bikes or scooters if we’re walking to preschool (1.4 km), the library (2.1 km), the delivery office (3.5 km) or if we’re simply going to the Aquadrome for a catch-up with friends.
I’ve been joining my oldest two on their cycling adventures since I got my bike a year ago, but until recently, I’d never considered going for a scooter as well.
The lovely people at Micro Scooters UK, who are sponsoring this year’s Sustrans Big Pedal, sent us a scooter and helmet each and I love it, although I was nervous at first (Would I be able to stay in an upright position? Would people think I look too big and clumsy to be on a scooter? Would I actually enjoy it?).
I’ve been going to town with my four on my scooter and I’ve really embraced it. If you live in an urban area and are a bit worried about riding on the road with young children, then a scooter is a must-have! We take ours everywhere and they take very little space in the car and in our small bike shed.
I’ve been to the park with my children, on the school run, to town, to the library and even on a one-to-one scoot to town with my eldest. He was struggling to keep up with me on the way back!
Right, let me tell you a bit more about the Big Pedal campaign. It’s all about tweaking your school run to move more and scoot or ride to school. It runs from today (Monday 23rd April) to Friday 4th May and it is the UK’s largest challenge of its kind. The aim of the campaign is to encourage pupils, staff and parents to leave their cars at home and opt for two wheels instead for their journey to and from school. It’s a short-term challenge, but my plan is to turn it into a habit for my family, rain or shine. No more car journeys to preschool for this family!
During the campaign, participating primary and secondary schools are competing with one another to make the most journeys by bike or scooter and they will be entered into daily prize draws for rewards, including bike stunt shows, if more than 15% of the school cycle or scoot on each day of the challenge.
Nearly 1,700 schools registered to take part last year, and that resulted in savings of almost 728 tonnes of co2 emissions. Overall, parents also saved over £400,000 on fuel (£400K!)! Not only will a more active life be beneficial to our health and wellbeing in general, we’ll also contribute to reducing air pollution as well as congestion on the way to school. The more people take part, the more impact it will have! I also see this challenge as a chance to chat to my children about looking after our planet and the importance of preserving the environment for future generations.
This year’s Big Pedal is backed by Mark Beaumont, who holds the Guinness World Record for cycling around the world in 78 days. As they take part in this year’s Big Pedal 2018, pupils can track their progress on a map of the world, learn about the places Mark passed through on his trip and the idea is to go ‘Around the world in 10 days’ collaboratively.
Here is what Mark said about the campaign: “I’m delighted to be supporting the Big Pedal 2018. It’s a great initiative for getting more young people on their bikes and scooters, building their confidence and independence in a fun and engaging way. Encouraging young people to cycle and scoot from an early age not only boosts physical and mental health, it also helps build good habits for independent and active travel into teenage and adult life. I hope as many schools as possible take part in this year’s ‘Around the World in 10 days’ Sustrans Big Pedal challenge.”
Will You Take Part in Pig Pedal 2018?
Disclosure: We were sent Micro Scooters and accessories, but I wasn’t compensated in any other way for this blog post. All opinions and photos are my own.