They’re the wheel deal

Pupils from Throston Primary School get their bikes and scooters ready for the Big Pedal competition

Pupils from Throston Primary School get their bikes and scooters ready for the Big Pedal competition

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SCHOOL pupils are competing for honours in the UK’s biggest school cycling event.

The Big Pedal competition, created by national sustainable travel charity Sustrans, is an inter-school event that challenges pupils, parents and teachers to dust off their bikes and scooters and take a more eco-friendly journey to school.

Hartlepool’s St Cuthbert’s, Throston and St Helen’s primary schools, as well as St Hild’s Church of England School, have signed up to take part in the scheme, which runs until March 23.

The charity along with Hartlepool Borough Council are offering a range of prizes that will help youngsters to continue their commitment after the competition ends.

Robert Snowball, the council’s sustainable travel officer, said: “This is all part of our on-going commitment to promote cycling and we are delighted that these schools have signed up to take part in the Big Pedal.

“Cycling is a great way of getting fit and improving your health and it can also help reduce traffic congestion, particularly outside schools.”

Sustrans took inspiration from the Tour de France by designing the competition on a similar, stage-based scoring system.

Schools will be given times based on how many pupils, parents and staff take part and the more that do so, the faster the time they will be awarded.

These times will be awarded over 15 stages, the school with the fastest overall time over the stages will be crowned the winner.

Sustrans is providing a range of daily stage and overall prizes and Hartlepool Borough Council is also offering various prizes including bike helmets, lights and locks and bike vouchers.

One of the Big Pedal participants, Throston Primary School, has also just taken delivery of a new “minipod” cycle storage system, a lightweight container that has room for eight bikes and eight scooters, that has been funded via the council’s Safer Routes to School initiative.

It is hoped this will further encourage pupils to cycle or scoot to school on a regular basis.