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.