Father-to-be Mark Cavendish backs Sustrans' Big Pedal to encourage kids onto bikes
Initiative sees staff, parents and kids at 900 schools across UK pedal for prizes

Cycling’s most famous father-to-be, world champion Mark Cavendish, is urging children, parents and staff across the UK to take to their bikes next month for this year’s edition of Sustrans’ Big Pedal.

The initiative, aimed at encouraging kids to get active, will see 900 schools compete for prizes, as well as raising money for the sustainable transport charity.

“It’s great to see more people out and about cycling and I always smile when I see a family or a child on a bike,” said Cavendish, whose daughter with girlfriend Peta Todd, who already has a six-year-old son from a previous relationship, is due to be born in April.

“The Big Pedal is a great Sustrans competition to get more kids out on two wheels,” continued the Team Sky sprinter.

“So many kids want to cycle so we should make it easy for them to get around by bike and to be fit and healthy. 

“It's brilliant to see Sustrans encouraging children from a young age to be happy, independent and free-range, and maybe even feel inspired to become future British cycling champions,” Cavendish added.

According to Sustrans, nearly one in two children wouls like to be able to cycle to school, but only 4 per cent currently do so.

The Big Pedal, which lasts three weeks, aims to help show schools, parents and children how east it is to use a bike to get around.

Carl Pittam Sustrans Director for English Regions commented: “It’s amazing to see so many schools signed up to take part in this year’s competition.

“Sustrans is helping thousands of children across the country to be out and about, active and independent, with the freedom to get around on foot or by bike.

“The success of last year’s competition proves just how much kids want to be able to cycle to school and we know for a fact that plenty of children continued to cycle to school as a result.”

The Big Pedal receives funding from the cycle industry through Bike Hub and Phillip Darnton, Executive Director of the Bicycle Association, added: “The future of cycling depends on every generation of kids learning and wanting to cycle. What better way to get started than joining in the Big Pedal.

“The cycle industry through its Bike Hub levy is delighted to fund this event for another year. 2012 is a very special year; the Big Pedal marks the start of the Summer of Cycling – a new campaign bringing together everyone who cycles and encouraging them to introduce one new-comer to cycling during the year.”

More information, including which schools are taking part, can be found on the Big Pedal website.


Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.


zzgavin [193 posts] 3 years ago

My son's school in London built a new cycle shelter last summer, which is about 20 by 30 foot and had to double it in size as it was so popular. It's in the London Borough of Redbridge, who are not especially cycling friendly, but better than Waltham Forest. So this is possible

OldRidgeback [2530 posts] 3 years ago

My kids have to cross a very busy road in London to get to school. I wouldn't be happy with them crossing this road by themselves on bicycles. The eldest does walk to school sometimes by himself though as it's not that far. I do encourage them to cycle around and as they're not teenagers yet, I'mm happy for them to ride on the pavement. A few weeks ago a woman shouted at us as we passed. It wasn't in a busy area and she was the only other person on the pavement. I did point out to her that my kids are children, not teenagers hammering along on BMXs with no brakes.