Children take up the cycling baton for Yorkshire

North Yorkshire will be the starting point for this year’s Schools’ Yorkshire Tour, a regional cycling event to encourage young people in Yorkshire to take up cycling.

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The Schools’ Yorkshire Tour has been developed by 12 Yorkshire local authorities, including North Yorkshire County Council’s travel awareness team, in partnership with Sustrans and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, with support from YPO and Pwlc, who have contributed to the event.

The aim is to encourage more young people from primary, secondary and special schools to take up cycling by promoting it as a fun and “cool” method of transport. The goal is to increase the number of pupils cycling safely to school, promote an active lifestyle while improving air quality and reducing congestion outside schools.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Transport, said: “It is very exciting to be involved in the start of this large-scale regional event. As this year’s Tour de Yorkshire cycle race recently highlighted, the huge interest in cycling continues to grow, so this is an opportunity to show our young people how they can make cycling a safe, regular part of their everyday life.”

County Councillor Caroline Dickinson, Executive Member for Public Health, added: “Encouraging young people in North Yorkshire to be active in this way fits with our Healthy Child objective to give them all the best possible start in life, so it will be wonderful to see so many taking part in an event that shows how cycling can easily become an enjoyable and healthy part of their lives.”

The event will begin at 9am on Tuesday, 5 June, at St Joseph’s School, Pickering, from where pupils will cycle with the baton to Pickering station. From there it will travel by train to Whitby, where the whole of St Hilda’s Primary School will receive it. Army Cadets will march the baton through the town to Whitby Abbey, where the cycle relay will begin. Much of the cycling will be done on the Cinder Track. Other schools involved will be Eskdale, Stakesby Primary, Airy Hill Primary and Hawsker School, which will welcome the baton as it passes. The baton will finish the day at East Whitby Academy School.

On 6 June, the baton will continue along the Cinder Track into Scarborough. Schools involved during the day will be St Martin’s Primary, Newby and Scalby Primary, Hackness Primary, St Peter’s, Northstead Primary, Scalby Secondary, Graham Secondary, the University Technical College, George Pindar Secondary and Braeburn Primary. The final stretch of the day will be ridden by local cycling group Breeze Ladies Cycle Club, taking the baton out of the county to Flamborough Primary School.

The baton will then pass through East Riding, York, Doncaster, Rotherham, Sheffield, Barnsley, Wakefield, Kirklees, Bradford and Calderdale, involving 162 schools and travelling 400 miles before finishing in Millennium Square, Leeds, with a celebration in the Civic Hall on Tuesday, 3 July.

County Councillors David Jeffels, Member for Seamer and Derwent Valley, and Derek Bastiman, Member for Scalby and the Coast, have funded T-shirts and plimsoll bags for the children taking part from their locality budgets. Cllr Jeffels said: “The schools’ cycle baton relay is an exciting event for young people, building on the great success of the Tour de Yorkshire. It will not only give them an opportunity to enjoy the spectacular scenery of North Yorkshire, but will encourage more young people to take up cycling as a great sport and an excellent way of keeping fit. I’m delighted to have been able to help support what I am sure will be an outstanding event, which I hope will become an annual feature of North Yorkshire’s sporting calendar.”

This story was published 30 May 2018