Priory School in Lewes is encouraging more students, especially girls, to get on their bikes.
As part of the Big Pedal (www.bigpedal.org.uk), a national cycle and scoot to school competition organised by Sustrans, Priory has put on a series of events to get more students active, including two girls-only bike rides.
The girls cycled on beautifully sunny afternoons from the school in Mountfield Road along small lanes to join the new cycle path out to Kingston.
There were big smiles all the way and several of the girls cycled further than they had ever pedalled before.
One girl said: “I love cycling. I thought I liked it but I didn’t realise how much.”
Two of the bikes the girls rode were donated to Priory by funding from the Police Property Act Fund and Lewes Cycleshack which is working alongside Sustrans to encourage more children and young people to ride their bikes.
Cycleshack will be going into schools over the next few months offering free Dr Bike sessions to check that student bikes are in full working order and safe to ride.
The bike rides have been supported by Sussex Community Rail Partnership which hired extra bikes and funded refreshments for all the girls in Kingston. Having these extra bikes made the rides accessible to everyone including those who don’t own a bike or get the bus to school.
Sustrans is pioneer of the ‘Safe Routes’ concept in the UK.
Lucy Dance, School Bike It Officer from Sustrans, said: “It’s brilliant going out riding with girls from Priory School. Girls often stop cycling once they get to secondary school so I’m really pleased to see the girls having fun on bikes and exercising.
“On the way back from Kingston some of the girls were already planning to go riding again at the weekend – it just shows what one bike ride can lead to!”
Sustrans is a leading charity enabling people to choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys. It has more than 30 years’ experience of developing and delivering practical, cost-effective initiatives that enable more people to travel by foot, bike or public transport.