Children and young people from 95 schools across Yorkshire will be taking part in a cycling relay covering ten local authority areas over the next two weeks.
The Schools’ Yorkshire Tour relay will start on Monday 12 June as part of national Bike Week. The relay will see pupils from primary, secondary and special schools in Yorkshire pass a baton over 395km (245 miles) from the start in Sheffield to its final destination in Leeds on Tuesday 27th June.
The tour has been organised by the ten Yorkshire local authorities in partnership with Sustrans and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and supported by YPO.
A baton will be passed by school children and young people from school to school, and local authority to local authority along a pre-planned route across Yorkshire. In addition, there will be a variety of events planned at some of the schools taking part in the relay along the route and at historic locations.
The event starts in Sheffield and passes through Barnsley, Wakefield, Doncaster, East Riding, York, North Yorkshire, Leeds, Bradford and Calderdale before ultimately finishing in Leeds with a celebration event. The route uses the existing road network and numerous off- road cycleways. A number of famous landmarks will form the backdrop to the baton handovers between districts, including the historic Stamford Bridge Viaduct, Lotherton Hall, and the original Woolpack at Esholt made famous by the long running television programme Emmerdale.
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s executive member for children and families said: “The Schools’ Yorkshire Tour is a fantastic opportunity for children and young people to be part of something exciting. It will not only help our young people gain valuable cycling and road safety skills, but also help them to see that cycling can be a fun and accessible mode of travel, as well as helping to improve their health and wellbeing.”
Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning said: “We want to encourage more young people to take up cycling both as a fun activity but also as a way to get to school. Increasing the number of pupils who cycle safely to school is a key priority and helps to reduce congestion outside the school gates, which in turn helps improve air quality for all our residents.”
Paul Morrison, Sustrans Head of Delivery for the North of England said: “We’ve been working with schools across Yorkshire and the children are really excited in taking part in the relay. Events like this really inspire them to get on their bikes every day and discover a fun way to travel and exercise. Many of them already cycle to school regularly and were involved in Sustrans’ Bike to School week last week.”
Pupils from the schools taking part in the cycle relay have also been given the opportunity to take part in a Twitter slogan competition – the winners of which will be invited to attend a celebration event at Leeds Civic Hall on 27 June.