Cycling route to independence for Conwy’s rural youngsters

Children to ride into their school for launch of nationwide project

by Kevin Emery   November 19, 2009  

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Youngsters at a rural Conwy school will be inspired to cycle the daily school run with the arrival of a nationwide project. Bike It, run by Sustrans, has doubled the number of children arriving by bike everyday at schools it is working in across the UK. The scheme – funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, Bike Hub and Conwy County Council - will launch at Ysgol Talhaiarn in Llanfair Talhaiarn tomorrow.

Children arriving on their bikes will be rewarded with a healthy breakfast before the start of lessons. During the school day Gwen will guide pupils through basic bike maintenance from pumping up tyres to tightening brakes, reflectors and saddles.

Sustrans Bike It Officer Gwen Thomas said: “Cycling is a brilliant skill to help children develop their independence, and this is particularly true in rural areas.

“Many of these children live a 45 minute bike ride from their nearest train station and bus services are less frequent than in towns, so cycling will be really important as they enter their teenage years to get about without relying on lifts from their mum and dad.

“There are no children cycling to this school at the moment but I’m sure there is an appetite for it. There is less traffic congestion here than in towns and cities, and the more often we can encourage these children to cycle the more confident they will become.”

Dafydd Edwards, of Conwy County Borough Council, said: “We fully support the Bike It project and are keen to see more pupils cycling to school. Some of our schools are benefiting from new cycle storage installations, and training to the new national standards – Bikeability - will be offered to pupils in all our primary schools in 2010.”

More information about Sustrans and Bike It is available from www.sustrans.org.uk.