Skills show award for Gateshead’s cycle crazy children

Trial riders to help schools celebrate improving school run

by Kevin Emery   November 9, 2009  

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World class trials riders Ben Slinger and Danny Butler will amaze youngsters with their mountain bike skills in Gateshead schools where cycling levels have rocketed. Children at Winlaton West Lane Primary and Barley Mow Primary have been inspired to cycle to school following the introduction of the Sustrans Bike It project.

The percentage of pupils cycling everyday has increased from zero to between eight and 10 per cent. Slinger, the triple world champion trials display rider, and European and British champion Butler will perform a series of hops, jumps and spins to mark the children’s success.

Youngsters will also be given prizes including bikes, badges, locks and lights courtesy of the Metrocentre.

Alan Barlow, Sustrans Bike It Officer in Gateshead and South Tyneside, said: “The trials displays are a real treat for the children and a great opportunity to see a genuine World Champion and European Champion visit their school.

“It is vital that we give young people here the opportunity to travel in healthy, sustainable and fun ways. And it’s been fantastic to see the children’s eagerness to get on their bikes in both of these schools.

“Cycling to school has so many extra benefits for pupils such as improved confidence and concentration as well as the obvious advantage for the environment in which they will grow up in.”

Barley Mow and Winlaton West Lane Primary Schools are among 24 schools across Gateshead and South Tyneside taking part in the Sustrans project. Funding has been put together by Gateshead and South Tyneside Councils, the Metrocentre and Sage Group Plc.

Staff, parents and teachers who are interested in promoting cycling and walking in their school can call Sustrans’ School Travel Team on 0117 9150100.
For more information about Sustrans and Bike It visit www.sustrans.org.uk.