Hundreds of pupils from 16 schools in Brighton and Hove cycled to school and back over 9,000 times during one week in June, as part of a challenge set by Sustrans.
The challenge, called Emission Impossible, was set by Sustrans Bike It officer Ben Sherratt. Ben challenged pupils to complete the 200-mile total distance of the legendary South Downs Double – every single day – by cycling to and from school.
Each school in the area had to encourage enough children to cycle in each day to cover the distance. Each school saw, on average, 21 per cent of all pupils cycling each day, with one school averaging 40 per cent.
Ben then challenged himself to cycle the 200-mile route within 24 hours on 25 June, which turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far.
128 children cycled in to Westdene Primary School for Ben’s send-off celebration on Friday 25 June. Ben then began his epic, through-the-night ride, spotting badgers and even saving a baby deer stuck in a fence on his way.
Ben said, “I was amazed at the effort these kids put in to cycling to school to ensure that I had to meet my target. I had challenged the schools to a race, not only against each other, but against me. If they could ride in all week then I would ride the South Downs Way Double - 200 miles - in 24 hours. The send off I got was amazing, it really set me up for the excruciating ride ahead.”
Ben completed his 200-mile challenge in a very quick 23hours 40mins and 13 seconds and encouraged hundreds of children to cycle to and from school in the process.
For more on Ben’s ride, see his blog.