Blue Peter presenter says he's caught cycling bug...

Blue Peter presenter Barney Harwood is challenging kids, parents and teachers across the UK to leave their cars at home and get on their bikes and scooters for the school run.

The Big Pedal (March 3 – 14) is an inter-school cycling and scooting competition that aims to get children active, and this year Barney wants hundreds of thousands of pupils to take part.

Barney said: “I’m supporting The Big Pedal because I want to show parents that cycling and scooting to school is fun, cheap, and it keeps kids healthy too. Taking part is easy, and it’s a great way for parents to incorporate a little exercise into their children’s daily routine.

“Over 1,000 schools have already signed up to take part and there is still time to get your school involved.

”I’ve caught the cycling bug – and I bet you will too!”

For parents who are thinking about cycling or scooting with their children during The Big Pedal, active travel charity Sustrans gives the following advice:

  • Make sure your bikes and scooters are in working order before setting off
  • Plan your route carefully and cycle it before you ride it with your child
  • Travel with a group of friends – it’s more fun that way!
  • Stay visible and if it’s dark make sure you have lights

Run by charity Sustrans and funded by Bike Hub, The Big Pedal is UK’s largest cycling and scooting competition for primary and secondary schools. Participating schools compete with one another to make the most journeys by bike or scooter over 10 days.

By signing up to The Big Pedal schools receive tailored lesson plans, posters, maps, and ideas on how to encourage everyone in the school to get involved. They’ll also be in with a chance to win some amazing prizes for the school.

To get your school involved in the Big Pedal go to: www.bigpedal.org.uk

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.