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The Big Walk and Wheel – March 21, 2023

The Big Walk and Wheel is a two-week event that is held from March 21 to April 1. It is the largest inter-school walking, scooting, and cycling competition in the U.K. Previously known as ‘The Big Pedal,’ the event aims to inspire students, parents, and even teachers to commute with good old-fashioned human power. With the introduction of automobiles, people have moved towards more convenient commuting options to reach work or school. This challenge emphasizes the benefits of using more manual means of travel. The observance honors the traditions and encourages building a health-conscious and sustainable society.

History of The Big Walk and Wheel

Buying your first bicycle and learning to ride it is a rite of passage for nearly all of us. Despite the bruises and scrapes from falling off, many people have fond memories of learning to ride a bicycle or pumping a scooter down the street and racing friends up and down steep slopes.

In today’s hectic world, bicycling lets us exercise our muscles, reduces fuel consumption, and is a popular alternative to driving a car. Bicycling is a very constructive activity. It’s beneficial for our physical and mental health, as well as the economy and the environment because it provides a simple and sustainable mode of transportation. Sponsored by UK cycling charity Sustrans, The Big Walk and Wheel celebrates the exhilaration associated with cycling, whether on a simple two-wheeler, a mountain bike, or one with training wheels. It also recognizes the bicycle’s durability and longevity. The Big Walk and Wheel takes place over two weeks (10 school days) each year, and there are prizes galore for those who participate. The challenge aims to inspire and empower kids, teachers, and parents to get on two wheels when they make the daily trip to school.

The challenge is open to individual classes and schools. Every day schools compete to see who can record the most students, faculty, and parents cycling, walking, using a wheelchair, or scooting to school while learning the benefits of active travel along the way. The best five days any school records will decide their ultimate position, but they can log journeys on all 10 days if they choose. There are daily prizes up for grabs, including school travel equipment and accessories.

The Big Walk and Wheel timeline

1817
The Scooters are Invented

Karl von Drais de Sauerbrun invents the scooter in Germany.

1879
The First Chain-driven Bicycle

Harry John Lawson invents a rear-chain-drive bicycle called the ‘bicyclette' in England.

1898
The Bicycles Lose Popularity

The popularity of bicycles in the U.S. starts to decline.

1916
The Motorized Scooters are Invented

Joseph F. Merkel and Arthur Hugo Cecil Gibson invent the motorized Scooter (Autoped).

The Big Walk and Wheel FAQs

How much of an exercise is cycling?

Cycling is mostly an aerobic sport, which means that it works your heart, blood vessels, and lungs. Regular cycling has several health benefits, including improved cardiovascular fitness.

Is cycling better than running?

Running engages the muscles more than cycling, allowing you to burn more calories. On the other hand, cycling is less demanding on the body, and you may be able to perform it for longer and travel faster than you would while running.

What is a Kick Scooter?

It is a ‘mini’ vehicle with a handlebar, deck, and wheels. It moves by having a rider propel it by pushing off the ground with their leg.

The Big Walk and Wheel Activities

  1. Walk, cycle, scoot

    Join in the activities by getting your bike or scooter out. Many communities have designated bike lanes where you can ride at your own pace and comfort.

  2. Buy a bicycle or scooter

    It’s never too late to learn how to ride a bicycle or scooter. Take the bold step and get yourself some new wheels; there’s a whole world out there to discover.

  3. Spread the word

    The Big Walk and Wheel is gaining traction among students and teachers. Do your part and spread the word to encourage others to join in.

5 Important Facts About Bicycles

  1. The heaviest bicycle

    The early precursor of the bicycle weighed a staggering 50 pounds.

  2. Jack of all trades

    A blacksmith named Kirkpatrick Macmillan in Scotland is widely credited with inventing the first pedal-driven bicycle.

  3. Equilibrium is important

    According to a Halfords survey, over 25% of parents noticed an improvement in their child's balance and sense of direction with scooter usage.

  4. They require less storage space

    About 15 bicycles can sit comfortably in the space a single car would occupy.

  5. The longest bicycle ever made

    The longest tandem bicycle, which was more than 65 feet long and could seat 35 people.

Why We Love The Big Walk and Wheel

  1. It’s an amazing workout

    Many people use bicycles as their primary mode of transportation, which means they get a healthy dosage of physical activity as part of their daily routines. The Big Walk and Wheel is your invitation to join them in honor of one of history's finest creations.

  2. It’s great for the environment.

    The only power required to walk and ride a bicycle or scooter is the rider's feet (or perhaps peddle power). We get to avoid expelling nasty exhaust gasses that pollute and damage the environment.

  3. It’s a shared activity and passion

    Arguably the best part of cycling, scooting, or walking is getting to share the route — and your sense of adventure — with other enthusiasts. The Big Walk and Wheel creates a shared sense of belonging and responsibility among participants.

The Big Walk and Wheel dates

YearDateDay
2023March 21Tuesday
2024March 21Thursday
2025March 21Friday
2026March 21Saturday
2027March 21Sunday

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