Pupils cycle their way to the top

CYCLING-mad pupils at Thetford schools are celebrating after they topped the county in a pedal-powered competition.

Children and parents from the Bishops School in Thetford took more than 3,000 bike journeys to school and back in 15 days as part of the nationwide Big Pedal competition.

That made them number one in Norfolk and number 23 out of 828 schools in the country.

Redcastle Furze School were hot on the heels of Bishops, finishing second in Norfolk and 88th nationwide after taking almost 2,000 journeys to school and back.

Georgie Burr, Sustrans Bike It Officer for Thetford, said she was ‘amazed’ at the schools’ effort.

“Cycling really helps to improve a child’s confidence, independence and health, not to mention the environment in which we live.

“The race has encouraged many children and their parents to use two wheels instead of four on the school run, demonstrating just how easy it is to cycle to school,” she said.

The aim of the race was for parents and pupils to cycle as far as possible in 15 days.

The final school to participate, Admirals Junior, took more than 2,000 journeys, meaning that Thetford schools took more than 8,000 journeys combined.

Liz Russell, deputy head at Redcastle Furze School, said the competition had paved the way for an upsurge in enthusiasm for cycling from pupils.

“We have been delighted with the response that we have had.

“We used to have around four bicycles in the bike shed most days, now we are getting around 40,” she said.

Carl Clark, cycling champion for Bishops, said the school’s bike workshop had helped boost their response to the scheme.

“We’re getting people coming in with broken bikes and getting them back on the road,” he said.