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Sustrans says Bike It trebles number of kids cycling to school in parts of Wales

Charity urges Welsh Assembly Government to roll out similar initiatives across the country

Sustrans has revealed that the number of pupils cycling in 24 schools in Conway in North Wales and Neath Port Talbot in the South of the principality have trebled due to the success of the Bike It initiative since it was introduced in Wales a little over a year ago.

The sustainable transport charity says on its website that prior to Bike It being implemented in the two areas in September last year, only 13% of children there cycled to school at least once a week. That has now leapt to 38%, helping improve children’s health and reducing local transport congestion and carbon emissions.

It added that the proportion of children who never cycle to school has fallen by nearly half, and it is hoped that similar success will be seen in the Welsh capital, Cardiff, where Bike It was launched this September.

The Welsh Assembly Government wants to treble the number of children in Wales using their bikes to get to school within the next four years, but Sustrans says that it has concerns about how this will be achieved and has called for more initiatives such as Bike It to be implemented to enable that goal to be achieved, saying that “consistent support is needed for schools across the country in promoting walking and cycling to school.”

It says that an average journey distance to school of just three miles makes it easy to travel to school by bike, adding that “with one in five thirteen-year olds in Wales classified as obese - a comparatively high figure to international levels - the benefits that cycling regularly can bring to children's health cannot be ignored.”

Bike It aims to help schoolchildren, parents and staff overcome the obstacles that prevent them from cycling to school, with its officers arranging sessions covering bike training and maintenance, drawing up work to be done in the classroom, installing facilities such as bike sheds and supplying information on safe routes that can be used to travel to school.

Bike It in Wales is operated by Sustrans Cymru, with funding from the Welsh Assembly Government and the bike industry via the Bike Hub, and the local initiatives in Cardiff, Conwy and Neath Port Talbot benefit from local council funding.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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