Leading by example for Bike to School Week 2019

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During Bike to School Week 2019, we managed to catch up with Mr Davies (Mr D) from Lazonby CE Primary School. We asked him a few questions about their school’s experience during the week, to learn from their example and to set a challenge for other schools.

Mr D enjoys cycling and getting out on the bike around Cumbria, particularly with school being only a two mile cycle from home. There is also the added incentive of a much longer loop on the return journey after work. Mr D’s many reasons for cycling include improving his own personal fitness and wellbeing, enjoying the fresh air, and setting a good example for his pupils. He is also reducing his impact on the environment in comparison to other road users, and spending less on fuel.

Mr D has worked hard to ensure that cycling is regarded as high priority at Lazonby CE Primary School. This has been achieved by developing a balance bike programme for the children in the Early Years Foundation Stage, meaning that all children will finish KS1 with the ability to ride. The success of this programme has led to a balance bike race being included as a sports day event.

In order to prepare for Bike to School Week, Mr D ensured all parents were aware of it well in advance, with letters home and through social media notifications. As well as the invitation to take part, the benefits of cycling were also laid out for all. Mr D also managed to coincide Bike to School Week with the same week that the school received Bikeability training. Year 4 pupils took part in Level 1, and Year 6 completed training in Level 2. Also, in order to maximise attendance, Bike to School Week at Lazonby CE Primary School was incentivised. Children who cycled to school were entered into a raffle, with the opportunity to win prizes donated by Sustrans and Halfords.

Over the course of the week, Year 5 pupils at Lazonby CE Primary School have researched the benefits of cycling, to answer the question ‘why should we cycle to school?’. The main benefits identified by Year 5 were the personal rewards of fitness & wellbeing, as well as improving air quality through reduced emissions.

The weather during Bike to School Week was not kind to most parts of the country, especially in Cumbria! However this has not stopped Mr D or the children from taking part. Lazonby’s approach is that there is no such thing as bad weather, you just need good clothing! Mr D recommends that pupils allow a bit of extra time for the journey in the rain, and has encouraged group riding from neighbouring villages.

All Mr D’s hard work and encouragement led to well over half of the pupils in the school cycling in at least once during Bike to School Week. This is a fantastic outcome, the challenge now is for pupils to continue cycling to school on a regular basis.

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