Big Pedal 2021

Northumberland’s children get on two wheels to school

Children across Northumberland are being actively encouraged by their schools to get on their bikes as part of this year’s Big Pedal 2021. 

The Big Pedal is the UK’s largest inter-school cycling and scooter-based challenge that aims to inspire and empower children, teachers and parents to get on two wheels in order to make the daily journey to school; improving their health and wellbeing whilst also having a positive impact on the environment and reducing traffic congestion at the school gates.  

Cath McEvoy-Carr, executive director for adult and children’s services, said: “This is a great way to get our children and young people involved in exercise whilst also giving them the opportunity to learn about the benefits of cycling, scooting and even walking to school rather than using a vehicle; both for the environment and for their own health and wellbeing.” 

To date 11 schools in Northumberland have signed up and are actively engaging with the daily challenges. Schools can take part in a range of activities to see how many of their children, teachers, parents or carers they can get cycling or scooting to schools.  

Alexandra Palmer, Headteacher of Stannington First School, said: “We are taking part in the Big Pedal as part of our ongoing initiative to encourage active travel to school. Not only does this reduce congestion and improve the air quality around our school gates, but we also believe that our pupils who travel actively to school arrive more alert and ready to learn.  

“In preparation, all pupils from Reception to Year 4 have participated in some cycle training; Balance Plus, Bikeability and some Level 1 Learn to Ride training. It is our aim for all pupils to leave our school as confident cyclists. Cycling is a skill for life and establishes great attitudes towards sustainable travel. We've invested in a small fleet of school cycles so that everyone can participate with this.” 
Northumberland’s commitment continues, with the launch of ‘The Big Northumberland Gear Change’ - the council’s call to residents to adopt more sustainable ways of getting around the county and save the environment and benefit their own health and wellbeing.  
Tips, advice and stories from fellow residents who have swapped petrol for peddles can be found on a dedicated new website that has been developed to convince residents to reduce their reliance on cars, something which will play a huge part in Northumberland achieving its net zero carbon emissions target by 2030.  
Find out more and sign up for the challenge at  
View all news