PUPILS at Covingham Park Primary School celebrated the launch of the Big Pedal yesterday.

It is the first time the school, which is a Green Flag Eco School and committed to sustainable travel, has taken part in the national inter-school competition organised by transport charity, Sustrans.

Bike It advisor and trainer Sharon Brentall from Sustrans visited school to launch the competition in Covingham, which aims to get children active by cycling and scooting to school.

Avril Brown, lower school lead and eco travel coordinator at Covingham Park Primary School, said: “All the children were very enthusiastic and want to win.

“Swindon are very good and other Swindon schools have done very well in the past.

“If we win a team of stunt bikers will come in to give a demonstration of the tricks you can do on bikes and scooters, and if we win overall I think we are given about 10 brand new mountain bikes.

“If 25 per cent of the school join in, if 90 people take part, then we do stand a good chance of winning.”

Avril added: “We’re committed to sustainable travel so the Big Pedal competition fits into our ethos as a school.

“We’re really excited to be taking part in the Big Pedal. We hope that by encouraging our children to walk, cycle and scoot to school over the next two weeks that we will see a reduction in congestion and pollution around the school gates, and help the children feel healthier and happier while getting fitter too.”

The national competition runs until March 14, and has been taking place every year since 2009 when it quickly became the UK’s largest inter-school cycling and scooting competition.

Nationally, research shows that nearly half of all children want to be able to get to school by bike but only four per cent actually do, and the competition is all about increasing their percentage.

Malcolm Shepherd, Sustrans chief executive, said: “The average primary school journey is just 1.5 miles – the perfect distance to walk or cycle.

“We hope the Big Pedal will help thousands of families rediscover the fun and freedom of cycling to school get fit and save money at the same time.

“I wish the staff, parents and pupils at Covingham Park Primary good luck, and look forward to finding out the results.”

To find out more about the Big Pedal go to www.bigpedal.org.uk.