Schools Yorkshire Tour boosted by cycling infrastructure from West Yorkshire Combined Authority

[caption id="attachment_3715" align="alignnone" width="400"] The Schools Yorkshire Tour baton being handed over between two of CityConnect’s Bike Friendly Schools, Co-op Academy Priesthorpe in Leeds and Fagley Primary School in Bradford today (Thursday 13 June).[/caption]

Pupils taking part in the Schools Yorkshire Tour across West Yorkshire and York are proving it really is as easy as riding a bike on cycling infrastructure either built or upgraded through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s £60 million CityConnect programme aimed at encouraging more people to travel by bike or on foot.

Now in its third year, the Schools Yorkshire Tour is a cycling relay with a baton being passed from school to school in 11 local authority areas across Yorkshire during the next month, finishing in Doncaster on Tuesday 2 July.

This year the tour started in York, with pupils from St Wilfrids RC Primary School cycling from York Minster, across the new Scarborough Bridge, which has been delivered in partnership by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority through its CityConnect programme, City of York Council and the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership (YNYER EP).

Pupils from schools taking part in the tour elsewhere in the region will also be making the most of CityConnect routes, including Bradford’s new £3.1m Canal Road Cycleway, which was officially opened last month, and the award-winning Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway.

A series of canal towpath upgrades in Bradford and Calderdale are also among the CityConnect routes being used during the tour, including between Riddlesden and Silsden on the Leeds Liverpool Canal, Sowerby Bridge and Hebden Bridge on the Rochdale Canal, and Sowerby Bridge Basin and Hollas Lane Bridge on the Calder Hebble Navigation.

A number of schools taking part in the tour have received support from CityConnect’s Bike Friendly Schools Scheme.

Through the scheme, which is targeted at schools on or near to CityConnect routes, pupils can access a bike and free cycle training, with funding available for bike and scooter parking, as well as free training for staff to plan and deliver activities – all with the aim of helping more pupils and teachers make more journeys by bike.

Today (Thursday 13 June) the baton was handed over between two of CityConnect’s Bike Friendly Schools, Co-op Academy Priesthorpe in Leeds and Fagley Primary School in Bradford.

This time last year, the CityConnect team ran training sessions with year six pupils at Fagley, who were due to move on to Priesthorpe, to help them make the transition to travelling to secondary school by bike. Similar plans are in place for this year.

Pupils from both schools have benefitted from cycle skills training. In March year seven and eight pupils from Co-op Academy Priesthorpe Secondary School received cycle training, following the installation of a 32-space indoor cycle parking facility jointly funded with Leeds City Council.

Martin Blacoe, Principle at Co-op Academy Priesthorpe, said: “Taking part in this year’s Schools Yorkshire Tour is a great opportunity to get our pupils cycling and our continued involvement with CityConnect as a Bike Friendly School demonstrates how important this is to us.

“From reducing congestion at the schools gates and tackling air quality to boosting physical activity and instilling strong travel habits that last a life time, we know encouraging more of our pupils to cycle and walk to school brings real benefits.”

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said: “It’s great to see so much of this year’s Schools Yorkshire Tour happening on infrastructure we’ve either built or improved through our CityConnect programme.

“Through CityConnect, the Combined Authority is working in partnership to make cycling and walking a viable option for all residents – regardless of age or ability – by not only delivering new and improved infrastructure, but also through initiatives such as our Bike Friendly Schools scheme.

“Instilling a love of cycling in children from a young age has long-lasting benefits, encouraging independent travel as a teenager and creating good habits for an active adult life.”

CityConnect’s Bike Friendly Schools scheme is run in partnership with Bradford-based BeCycling, with more than 50% of pupils who go through the scheme learning to ride for the first time.

To date pupils from 29 schools across West Yorkshire have received support through the scheme and more than 140 extra bike and scooter parking places have been installed at participating schools.

Find out more information about CityConnect’s Bike Friendly Schools scheme at cyclecityconnect.co.uk/get-active/working-with-schools.

From route information to free adult cycle training and bike maintenance training, online cycle challenges and support for businesses, find out how CityConnect can help you.