Wednesday 24 September 2014

Schools in (err, what?) #SchoolPedal

UPDATE - Vee's finally riding confidently, doing her first #SchoolPedal on the 8th Feb - Vid will be embedded below!

I know, we're meant to say school's out these days but for a group of bloggers school is definitely in.

Especially when it comes to sustainable transport. A group of bloggers and parents were talking via twitter and it caught my eye due to the subject of cycling and the school run and the fact next to nobody run's it unless you're late in the afternoon and the school will be miffed again! (we've all had those weeks? *bugger* Just me then?)

The school run is comprised of getting the kids to school in a decent time, (dejavu?) and doing it in a manner that stimulates your children for the fun or busy day of learning and fun ahead and to be fair it can be pretty boring strapping the kids inside the car or sat in the child trailer in my case, especially when it's too small now. That makes me really sad but it's progress i suppose!

See, I've gone off on a tangent again - Muppet. I joined the twitter chat for a while which seemed to last for days, while on and off it's gone from a let's get the kids to school without an engine to the #SchoolWalk #SchoolPedal and #SchoolScoot a way to promote cycling and scooting to school with the children, be it you scoot, cycle or walk. no matter who's riding it's still a fantastic way to get out and about and take in the crisp and fresh autumnal air, even if the air quality locally is worse than some parts of London thanks to the A5 but anyway ;)

GrampsBike - En Route to the Keech Star walk 2014 completed
that night, the last part arrived that afternoon!
And no - 7 lights is not overkill! ¬_¬
What makes this awesome for me is how I've just become a Sustrans volunteer with the CBC Travel Choices service, with the aim to start a school based cycle scheme for parents and including children once my training is completed to a higher level and as such I want to use the #SchoolWalk #SchoolPedal and #SchoolScoot ideas to create parent controlled group rides from set destinations to school,

for instance for children at School A have a set group who come from one side of town and another who come from the other side of town so 10 parents get together and arrange for children to scoot and pedal with the chain starting with the parents farthest away and the chain increases from there with parents joining at set points closest to the most convenient route. Similarly set on the way back.

While this will need future planning and risk assessments and health and safety input to ensure child and parent protection I see it could work fantastically well as a project to get more people using their bikes and scooters. Especially with Bikeability and Scootability courses designed for both children and adults and the possibility of other community based goodness too if all goes well!

One thing I will add is to ensure you've bright and have lights, even a front silicone one on a scooter at the least for the darker days and nights coming around the corner, my friend Liska at New Mum Online has some reviews on the clothes Aldi sent her as well as info on lights and special cyclist friendly deals at Aldi from the 25th, (I'll be popping in to see what I can buy tomorrow. my old speedo was from Aldi and I took it over the mileage clock twice. working out at around 20,000 Miles on one bike and I stupidly left on my old GT bike when it became a money pit.)

On thing I worked out last night was the savings riding, scooting and walking to school can quickly rack up, while I can only comment on public transport over driving it's still a large amount.

For instance, a Luton and Dunstable Arriva day ticket costs £4.30, A weekly ticket is £17.00 Whereas a HipHop Day ticket (use on all Arriva and Centrebus services and some Grant Palmer services) is £4.60 for a day ticket and £18.50 for a weekly ticket.
For clarities sake I've not included monthly and yearly tickets yet as I want to confirm the prices and any proposed increases before working them out. They will come soon.
Now if you use the bus 6 days a week, all year it will cost a maximum of £1341.60 or £1435.20 for a hiphop day ticket.

Similarly weekly ticket costs come out to £884 and £964 throughout the year.

Potential savings of £800+ are not to be sniffed at in my opinion, and that includes maintenance of bikes or scooters.

If you want to join in with the project let us know in the comments, with blog posts I'll happily share with everyone and add to the post also. Also If you can't scoot or pedal to school we can help find bike confidence courses for all levels to complete learners to advanced riders who need to wind their necks in a bit (oh wait, that's me again)


  1. This is a great post Paul. Wow I didn't fully realise you were involved in all that I need to clue up. So that explains all the additional @ mentions in your tweets.

    Thanks to linking to my Aldi review. All the cycling bits and bobs are instore from today. I was in there at 9 a.m. this morning and despite the press samples I received, I still spent 90 pounds.

    But it won't take many weeks to break even with the bus, given that the alternative of the bus, over cycling, would be 4 pounds a day, and I LOVE the #SchoolPedal cycle to and from school.

    Great post.


    1. I'll do the maths tonight on how much I've saved cycling and scooting the kids to school over the last 4 (nearly 5) years and add it to the post here :)

      It's got more official today as my Hi-Viz and voulunteer bits came through the post this morning :)

      Chat soon xx

    2. Oh that is so exciting you must be thrilled. Well done. Such a great initiative x

  2. We live quite far away from our closest school, so cycling might take us all day. My eldest daughter has just done her bikeability though, so we are keen cyclists .... just not on the morning school run!

    Well done to you though x

    1. If you wanted I could put you in touch with a local Sustrans group who may have some other bike related projects you could all join in if you wish! x

  3. Oh well done you.

    I'm a non driver so car travel isn't an option for me even if I wanted it to be. The amount of parents who drive their kids to school a short distance makes my blood boil.

    Lets make it easier and safer for scooters, cyclists and walkers I say!

    1. I had a car door opened on me this afternoon en route to the school, the lady was parked blocking a driveway pavement and a cyclelane all in one. It winds me up big time, Kids need to have a safe way to get to school without cars blocking the same streets that need protecting.

      You come under Travel Choices in CBC, drop me a line Liz and we can organize a Safer Streets to school day for parents and incorporate the #schoolScoot pedal and walk into it with your school if you'd like!

      more info on the campaign for safer streets is here

  4. I would love to cycle on the school run but just too worry about the way the idiots drive locally plus the school offers no storage facilities for the kids bikes during the day.

    1. Depending on where your based I may be able to find a local sustainable transport team who can help you and help the school gain funding for a bike shed, or if a local has a chainsaw old telegraph poles can be used to make bike locking posts (I'll try and get photos of some at a school I'm training at for non sustrans bits on tuesday) Also same as Liz the Safer streets campaign may be one to show to your school.

  5. We walk as it's just up the road and it's always such a lovely moment together, I'm lucky they're still at the age they hold my hand - that will soon pass so I'm making the most of it

    1. Walking it while they still want to hold hands is the best! Shows they feel safe and comfortable with mum at school and on way to school

      I hope it never passes. Keep up the good #SchoolWalks :D

  6. My 12 y/o has just started cycling to school but I'm not sure how she's going to go in the Winter - I need to get her sorted don't I?

    1. Hi Cass, (top work on topping the tots BTW)

      Aldi have some good but cheap lights as linked above thanks to Liska, but as for the bike itself the tips i can give you are

      reduce the air in the tyres, when fully inflated they slip more on the ice or snow. but when you deflate them to a safe point (keep an eye on the tyre walls for damage)

      Also don't use WD40, while it's good for degreasing and cleaning parts it does not lubricate properly and in the winter can help the destruction of parts. GT85 lube spray is cheap and works a treat on all bikes.

      I'll be doing a winter bike blogpost soon featuring gramps and the currently dead naughtybike unless it's deemed safe. (we'll have to see) to show whats best to do on both singlespeeds and mountain bikes as both handle differently. I'll have to try and get a road bike to try out too!

  7. At the moment I walk 8 miles a day taking and picking my girls up from school.My 12 year old son is within 15 minute walking distance to his secondary school, whilst eldest daughter is 9 and cycles, and my 6 year old scoots on their 45 minute journey.The girl's school has recently had installed better crossing around some of the roads near the school but there needs to be a lot more done for those who travel further.It really riles me that a number of parents live with a 10 minute walking distance to the school but drive their children, causing unnecessary congestion outside the school.

  8. While I applaud the scool for trying to fix and get improvements to the crossings nearby they need to push to see if the council has any way to encourage those who will drive their kids a few yards to walk or do something else.

    It's also one of my latest bugbears too.
    And that is a lot of miles to walk for school runs. Good on you,

  9. I always cycled or walked to school, apart from in primary school when I took the school bus because it was miles away. It was great fun because in the morning it woke you up and got you ready for school and after school it was a way to unwind a little, I found x

    1. My yongest has found this too, she's come out of her grumps while cycing and even when tired she smiles while riding and it's the same here.

      Cycling is a very good stress relief.

  10. I love this idea, just the idea of creating a chain of kids to school instead of all those stressed out individual families! Ours involves two sites and people are forever stressed. There has to be a better way :)

    1. There are better ways but too many parents are scared to take new ideas on thanks to the scaremongering in the world.

      We'll get there one day I'm sure of it. :D