Pupils gear up for spring with cycling skills boost

Bike Friendly Schools scheme heads to Calderdale and Kirklees

Pupils in Calderdale and Kirklees are gearing up for spring with a cycling skills boost, thanks to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s £60m CityConnect programme aimed at encouraging more people to travel by bike or on foot.

CityConnect’s Bike Friendly Schools scheme, which is targeted at schools on or near to CityConnect routes, provides grants, support and advice to help more pupils and teachers make more journeys by bike.

In partnership with Bradford-based BeCycling, the CityConnect team work with a school to help them make improvements, such as providing new bike and scooter parking as well as increasing pupils cycling skills.

From learning to ride for the first time to making the journey to secondary school by bike, more than 3,500 pupils from 21 schools have received support through the scheme.

Starting in February 2017, the scheme has previously focused on schools near CityConnect’s flagship scheme, the Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway - a 23km segregated cycle route connecting two of Yorkshire’s major cities.

The team is working in new areas to coincide with new routes being built and existing routes being improved as part of the CityConnect programme.

In Calderdale the team will be focussing on schools along the Calder Valley, based on their proximity to the Rochdale Canal towpath improvements between Sowerby Bridge and Hebden Bridge.

This includes Calder High School in Mytholmroyd and Riverside Junior School in Hebden Bridge.

Catching the “bike bug” at Burnley Road Academy: Meet Ted Theaker, Deputy Headteacher.

[caption id="attachment_3588" align="alignnone" width="400"] Ted Theaker, Deputy Head at Burnley Road Academy, pictured with pupils from the school.[/caption]

In Kirklees the team will be focussing on schools along the Colne Valley, based on their proximity to the Huddersfield Narrow Canal towpath improvements between Milnsbridge and the town centre.

This includes Oak CE Primary in Crosland Moor, Beech Early Years Infant and Junior School in Golcar, and Cowlersley Primary School.

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said: “In parts of West Yorkshire, as few as one in five households have access to a bike and as a consequence many children may never have the opportunity to learn to cycle.

“By ensuring schools can train those children who may not have the opportunity to learn at home, this scheme is helping make cycling a viable option for more of our residents, regardless of age or circumstance.

“We know cycling is a great way to get around and have fun, while also enjoying the outdoors. Encouraging more of us to travel by bike or on foot not only boosts people’s health and saves individuals money, it also brings wider environmental and economic benefits, which is why we want to make cycling and walking a natural choice for short, everyday journeys, including the school run.”

Through the Bike Friendly Schools scheme, pupils can access a bike and free cycle training, with funding available for cycle storage at the school, as well as free training for staff to plan and deliver activities.

The scheme provides cycling activities 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.

In addition to cycle training sessions, nearly 120 extra bike parking places have been installed at the participating schools, making it easier for pupils to cycle to and from school.

Find out more information about CityConnect’s Bike Friendly Schools scheme.

Through the CityConnect programme and in partnership with others, the Combined Authority is not only building new cycling and walking routes and improving existing infrastructure, it also offers a range of free services, including route information, online cycle challenges and support for businesses. Find out how CityConnect can help you.