We're off to see Santa... on yer bike!
Date Added: 28/11/2016
More than 10,000 Central Bedfordshire children will be cycling, walking and scooting to see Santa this year.
They are taking part in the Santa Challenge, which sees if school pupils can cover the 2,000 miles needed to make the virtual trip between Central Bedfordshire and Lapland using only their own power.
Using a special record card, pupils and their parents can monitor trips to school. More than 10,000 have been handed out for the challenge which runs from Monday (28 November) until Friday, 9 December.
The challenge is being organised by sustainable transport charity Sustrans which has been working with schools throughout Central Bedfordshire thanks to funding from the council’s public health team.
Councillor Maurice Jones, Central Bedfordshire’s Executive Member for Health, said: “The Santa Challenge has increased in popularity year on year and it’s great that so many children are signed up to take part.
“While there are some great prizes for the top performers, everyone taking part is a winner as getting into the exercise habit early will only help you later in life.
“And if more children are making short journeys to school by bike, scooter or on foot then that has benefits for others too as it reduces congestion on our roads at peak times and means less pressure on parking around our schools.”
Sustrans Bike It officers have already been explaining to pupils how easy it is to keep walking, scooting and cycling through the winter at special assemblies. A number of events are planned over the next two weeks, including Bike-It Breakfasts and special assemblies, which focus on staying safe by roads this winter.
For the very best performers, there is a chance to win some fabulous prizes, including a fantastic new lightweight Frog bike, scooter pods for schools, cuddly Sustrans bears, vouchers, badges and goody bags.
Bike It Officer Derek Smulders said: “Many schools got to Lapland last year, and counting all the journeys, we also travelled twice around the world. This year, with a number of new schools, we hope to get even further even faster.
“Everyone has been telling their friends what fun the challenge is, so the response this year is stunning. It’s going to be an exciting competition, especially with the added attraction of the chance to win a new bike.”
Alister Barclay, who runs the Bike It programme in Sandy and Biggleswade, said: “Active travel – walking, cycling and scooting – can keep us all warm, happy and safe even through darker evenings and inclement weather. It can also do wonders for our health.
“We hope the Santa Challenge this year can remind us that these travel modes can be simper and easier for all of us, and how far we can get when we do things together.”
For more information about sustainable ways of getting to school, visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/school/transport/plans.aspx