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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 April, 2005, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Cycle champion backs 'bike train'
Nicole Cooke
Nicole Cooke urged children to cycle to school
World champion cyclist Nicole Cooke has got on her bike to support a healthier way for children to travel to school.

On Tuesday morning, the Commonwealth Games gold medal winner helped lead a "cycle train" at Pennard Primary School on the Gower.

Nicole said getting children to take part in healthy initiatives was very important.

Cycle trains, which follow on the heels of "walking buses", sees cyclists escorted to school by adults.

The scheme, which already operates in Oxfordshire, began in Wales last week with a train at Evenlode School in Penarth.

Our main aim is to discourage parents from parking their cars in front of the school gates when they are on the school run
Hywel Thomas, Swansea Council

Speaking on Tuesday, Nicole, from Wick near Bridgend, south Wales, said she used to ride to school with her brother.

"The whole thing about going to school was it was a journey we didn't do in a car or on the bus," she said.

"I remember getting a bike at a very young age and cycling as much as I could - it gives you a sense of freedom and adventure.

"Even in a busy city, children should be encouraged to take part in as many sporting activities as possible."

Hywel Thomas, Safer Routes to School Officer for Swansea Council, said they were thrilled that Nicole had supported them.

Hywel Thomas
Hywel Thomas said they need parents to get involved

"Our main aim is to discourage parents from parking their cars in front of the school gates when they are on the school run," he said.

"The children will also benefit from a more healthy start to the day instead of getting in the car and being driven to school."

However, he said that parental participation would be essential if the scheme was to succeed.

"It is all down to that at the end of the day," he said.

"We are here to support them, to help them start off these schemes and then we hand it over to them and hopefully the enthusiasm of the children."




SEE ALSO:
Bike Week aims at commuters
16 Jun 04 |  South West Wales



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