School children across York are being encouraged to get on their bikes and sign up to a nationwide cycling and scooting competition.
Entries have now opened for the Big Pedal, which runs from March 3 to 14 and aims to encourage children to use two wheels to get to school instead of four.
During the challenge, pupils will go online to log their daily mileage on two wheels and to see how they are faring against other schools across the country.
Both primary and secondary schools are being urged to sign up and it is hoped teachers may also be encouraged to leave their cars at home.
Staff at Wigginton Primary School, who recently security tagged about 30 bikes ahead of the scheme, have signed up to the challenge to encourage children to be more active.
Head teacher Pat Boyle said the school was hoping to see a variety of positive benefits from the scheme.
She said: “We hope that by encouraging our children to walk, cycle and scoot to school over the Big Pedal fortnight that we will see a reduction in congestion and pollution around the school gates, and help the children feel healthier and happier. We’re really excited to be taking part.”
The scheme proved popular throughout York last year with more than 20 schools entering.
York schools made 24,448 journeys during the three-week event, securing eight places in the top 100 schools in the UK.
With six secondary and 82 primary schools in North Yorkshire taking part in the event, it was estimated families saved £29,000 in fuel costs.
Across the UK, 847,725 journeys were made on two wheels instead of four over the three weeks.
Clifton with Rawcliffe Primary were crowned the “Superschool” and won a Scooterpod for their funraising efforts. York High School won the Secondary School category and secured fourth position in the UK for the highest proportion of people cycling or scooting to school.
It also won the Yorkshire and Humber title, winning an Extreme Mountain Bike Show as a prize More than 20 prizes are on offer in this year’s competition, including bikes, and bike and scooter stunt displays.
The final day of the competition will be Superhero Day, when children will be able dress up to raise money for Sustrans, a charity encouraging more people to take public transport to work as well as to walk or bike.
To sign up to the Big Pedal or to find out more, visit www.bigpedal.org.uk
The Big Pedal has been launched only days after thousands of cycling fans snapped up free tickets to attend York Racecourse to watch the start of day two of this summer’s Grand Depart of the Tour de France.