Join Doncaster duo and lace up trainers for the Big Pedal

Tom Collister and Chris Hickson

Tom Collister and Chris Hickson

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Youngsters all across South Yorkshire are urged to find some pedal power and cycle or scoot to school in a UK-wide challenge this month.

To encourage more children to get on their bikes and cycle to school as part of the Big Pedal from April 18 to 29, bicycle buddies Tom Collister and Chris Hickson are going a few steps further....

Sheffield man Tom, who is Sustrans charity’s Bike It Officer for Doncaster and cycle tour leader Chris will ride 140 miles from coast to coast in a day on April 21.

Their route from Whitehaven to Sunderland takes in 10,000 feet of climbing.

The Big Pedal is the UK’s largest inter-school cycling and scooting challenge, run by Sustrans and funded by the BikeHub.

Schools are invited to compete to see who can record the greatest number of pupils, staff and parents cycling and scooting to school between the set dates.

To find out more about how you can get involved visit www.bigpedal.org

Mr Collister, 38, said: “Surely if I can ride across Britain in a day then it’s not too much to ask for everyone to come to school on their bikes!

“We are hoping for record numbers of bikes and scooters in our schools on that day.”

He will raise cash for Sustrans by doing the extreme challenge and will post regular tweets so that schools and individuals can follow his progress.

The pair will leave at dawn on the 21st and have a train booked from Sunderland at 8.30pm.

Although he has not trained specifically for the ride, Tom said he keeps fit currently by cycling to schools all over Doncaster.

He has been a keen cyclist all his life and started off in the sport when much younger by mountain biking in the hills of North Wales where he lived before moving to Sheffield.

His job involves encouraging and helping young people to travel to school by bike or scooter.

Tom teaches bike safety checks, playground skills sessions, get-off stabilisers sessions, and he organises incentive schemes such as the Big Pedal, bike rides and festivals, maintenance classes, training classes for parents, and classroom curriculum sessions ranging from the history of the bike to bike maths and even bike music!

After he is involved with pupils and staff for a year or so, Tom says that typically a Bike It school will have over 20 per cent of pupils cycling or scooting to school on a regular basis.

He believes fervently in the work he is doing, which increases physical activity in pupils, staff and parents, tackling a chronic obesity problem that is a national issue and helping to improve academic standards.

The impact of more people cycling as part of their daily life also works towards a cleaner environment, lowering local air and noise pollution, and helping to achieve our carbon targets, with reduced congestion that improves the reliability of our road network.

To get behind Tom on his 140-mile challenge and sponsor him for the Sustrans charity visit the following website link: www.justgiving.com/Tom-Collister2