South Shields pupils spend half-term cycling 250 miles to twin town in Germany

Trip to Wuppertal follows Green Route between two communities running through the Netherlands and Germany

by Simon_MacMichael   June 4, 2012  

Wuppertal St Laurentius (Frank Vincentz, Wikimedia Commons)

Pupils from a school in South Shields are spending their half-term riding along a 250-mile ‘Green Route’ linking the community on South Tyneside with its twin town Wuppertal in Germany.

The trip results from a challenge issued by students from the Gymnasium Kothen secondary school in Wuppertal, North Rhine-Wesphalia, when they visited South Shields last year, reports the Shields Gazzette.

The 13 youngsters – 11 boys and two girls – will be accompanied on their trip by staff from St Wilfrid’s RC College and belong to the school’s cycling club. In all, 29 cyclists are undertaking the journey.

Training for the trip, which began on Friday when they took the DFDS ferry from North Shields to Ijmuiden in the Netherlands has included the pupils riding the Coast to Coast route from Whitehaven to Sunderland.

Once in the Netherlands, the group was due to be joined by members of the Wuppertal Green Route Association, who will ride with them along cycle paths and roads with minimal traffic towards their destination in Germany, where the students will deliver civic greetings from the Mayor of South Tyneside to her German counterpart.

The newspaper reports that the school’s cyclig club was established earlier theis year with support from Sustrans, British Cycling and the sports development team at South Tyneside Council.

Helen Nuttall, St Wilfrid’s sports co-ordinator, commented: “Since we linked up with Gymnasium Kothen last year and got the Green Route bug, the whole cycling thing has really taken off.

“We now have a very active club, which meets weekly, and pupils and adults have taken part in a programme of rides, cycle training, and bike maintenance and leadership courses.

“Everyone has worked hard to prepare for the trip,” she added. “We have already pedalled hundreds of miles in training for this event.”

Set up in 1998, groups of cyclists regularly make the trip between South Tyneside and Wuppertal along the Green Route, taking with them a special Green Route Trophy which resides in the destination before being taking back across the North Sea on the next trip.

3 user comments

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Sounds ace. My school wasn't like this!

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3096 posts]
5th June 2012 - 9:48

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Could start a whole new Triumph of the Will school programme. But seriously - it does sound like a ripping 1930's adventure from a decade before Health & Safety rubbed out exploration. If I could only get our town to twin with somewhere warm in the South of France I'd be happy to accompany a school trip. Beats skiing.

Silly me. You're probably right....

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posted by MercuryOne [1057 posts]
5th June 2012 - 22:59

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MercuryOne wrote:
Could start a whole new Triumph of the Will school programme. But seriously - it does sound like a ripping 1930's adventure from a decade before Health & Safety rubbed out exploration. If I could only get our town to twin with somewhere warm in the South of France I'd be happy to accompany a school trip. Beats skiing.

Cycling then skiing - that would be fantastic. Warm up the legs before a day on the slopes. I'm not sure the cleats fit though.

posted by Coleman [329 posts]
6th June 2012 - 16:49

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