CityConnect Bike Friendly Schools scheme to help pupils get pedal-ready

To help get their pupils pedal-ready to use the CityConnect route between Bradford and Leeds, schools along the route are signing up to the new CityConnect ‘Bike Friendly Schools’ scheme.

Launched at Byron Primary School in Bradford today 28 March, the ‘Bike Friendly Schools’ scheme will allow pupils and staff at schools along the route to take advantage of the Cycle Superhighway and canal towpaths. Schools taking part will have cycle storage installed, access to bikes for their pupils, and extra training for staff and pupils.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Deputy Transport Chair Cllr Eric Firth said:

“The Cycle Superhighway runs through some of the most deprived areas in the country, where access to a bike is as low as one in five for households in these communities, which means many children never even learn to ride.

“By enabling schools to become Bike Friendly, our CityConnect teams can help cycling become part of their physical education, teaching their pupils to ride and helping them to access bikes which are stored on school grounds.

“I’m please to say the CityConnect ‘Bike Friendly Schools’ scheme has already proved extremely popular and is booked up for the rest of this school year. Byron Primary, where we are launching the Scheme is investing in training teachers to include cycling as part of the standard activities the school offers, and is working with CityConnect to build some high-quality, secure bike storage.”

Looking ahead CityConnect ‘Bike Friendly Schools’ will move to including a cycling activity for every year a pupil is at school, developing skills in bike handling and confidence before tying in with national schemes such as BikeAbility to develop on-road cycling.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Portfolio holder of Environment, Sport and Culture said:

“CityConnect & the Bike Friendly Schools scheme is helping to bring a much needed change to Bradford and beyond – helping to break down the barriers that children face by giving them great experiences, improved health and fitness and well-developed skills which will help them to access further education and employment in the future.”

The activities happening on the day have been organised in partnership between CityConnect, BeCycling and national charity Sustrans, who are currently promoting the Big Pedal – a campaign promoting more cycling to schools. 

Sustrans Officer Ian Cullen, who works with the school to run these cycling activities said:

“Amazing seeing how many kids couldn’t ride before and now how many can! In this school, we’ve got about 70 a day cycling and many of those couldn’t cycle before we started the project with Byron”

The scheme is open to schools near the CityConnect routes. Schools wanting to become Bike-Friendly, can find out more online or get in touch with CityConnect at cityconnect@westyorks-ca.gov.uk