A Sustrans schools officer from Sheffield will cycle the length of the Transpennine Trail in just 24 hours for charity.
Tom Collister, who works at schools in Doncaster, will start the popular coast-to-coast leisure trail in Southport at 4am this Friday and cycle the 214 miles to Hornsea, in Yorkshire, by 4am the next day.
He will be accompanied on the journey - for charity Sustrans’ annual Big Pedal Challenge - by fellow long distance cycling enthusiast, Chris Hickson, who runs South Yorkshire the mobile bike workshop, ‘Bicycle Buddy.’
The Big Pedal is the UK’s largest competition of its kind, when pupils, teachers and parents across the UK leave their cars at home and get on their bikes and scooters for their journeys to and from school. Last year more than 1,500 schools signed up to take part and teachers, parents, siblings and pupils made more than a million journeys to school on their bikes and scooters.
Tom says he hopes that children in his schools and schools across the country will be inspired by his efforts to get on their bikes to start the school day:
“If I can ride across Britain in a day, I hope it will motivate children to make the effort to cycle to school,” said Tom.
“Walking and cycling to school is a great way for our children to get the exercise they need every day to keep healthy, and research shows it allows them to become better students in the classroom.
“The biggest reward would be if the bike racks at all the schools in Doncaster were full during the Big Pedal, and children kept up their cycling habits after the event too!”
The proportion of children walking and cycling to school has been declining since 1995, with the number driven to primary school increasing each year - as many as one in four cars on the road during the morning peak are on the school run. Children in the UK now lag far behind their peers in other nations for active travel. Only about 2-3 per cent of UK children cycle to school compared with 49 per cent of all Dutch primary school children.
The Big Pedal 2017 is open to individual classes as well as whole schools, with hundreds of thousands of pupils expected to take part. The Big Pedal is powered by national walking and cycling charity Sustrans and funded by the Bicycle Association on behalf of the cycle industry through its Bike Hub scheme. During the 10 days, participating schools compete with one another to make the most journeys by bike or scooter.
This year’s theme is ‘Around the world in 10 days,’ with pupils tracking their progress on a map of the world, learning about the countries and cities they pass through on their way.