Cycling to school


Bike around the borough

Bike around the borough is an eight mile mass bike ride around Hackney with a lunchtime picnic on Haggerston Park. Organised by Hackney Council and the Metropolitan Police Safer Transport Team this event provides a chance for schoolchildren to practise their cycling skills and see first-hand how easy and how much fun it is to travel around the borough by bike.

Last year over a third of Hackney’s schools took part in this event, which saw nearly 600 young riders visit places across the borough which many would never have experienced otherwise. Watch this video of last year’s event to hear what participants thought:

Bike 4 Life

As part of the Change 4 Life campaign there are some free resources which are great for promoting cycling to school.

Benefits of cycling to school

  • improves health and fitness of students
  • less pollution and congestion near the school
  • environmentally friendly
  • boosts student’s confidence and independence
  • fewer problems with parking spaces
  • improves student’s road safety awareness
  • gets students and staff to school on time
  • cheap mode of travel
  • fun and enjoyable

Data from Hackney Schools’ School Travel Plans (STPs) shows that 33% of pupils from primary and secondary schools would like to cycle to school but only 3% do.

Encouraging cycling to school

Cycle promotion ideas for schools:

  • ensure there is secure cycle parking for pupils and staff at your school and publicise this well, for example in newsletters and during assemblies
  • organise cycle training for pupils to improve their skills and increase their confidence
  • encourage staff to cycle. Ask members of staff who currently cycle to work to become ‘cycling’ champions’ to promote cycling to other members of staff
  • hold a cycling event, for example a ‘bikers breakfast’ or ‘bling your bike’ activity perhaps during Bike Week in June
  • reward children who cycle to school, for example a prize draw for children who cycle at least once a week, to win fun cycling related prizes
  • offer incentives to staff to switch from driving to work to cycling instead – e.g. prize draw or sustainable travel bonus
  • inform staff about the free cycle training we offer

Cycle training

Cycle training helps children to develop their cycling skills both on and off-road and to become more confident.

We offer a free cycle training course to any school in the borough and also one to one training for staff and parents. To find out about the range of cycle training being offered and make a booking go to the cycle training page.

Cycle safety

Advice for parents – children and young adults cycling to school:

  • provide bright and reflective clothing, supportive shoes and a back pack
  • never buy a bike for your child to “grow into”. An oversized bike could be uncomfortable, dangerous and is likely to put your child off cycling
  • don’t buy a bike as a surprise present as the child needs to be there to try it out
  • ensure the bike is the right size and properly adjusted. The child should be able to straddle the crossbar, standing with both feet on the ground, with 2 to 5 cm of clearance. The seat is at the right height if the child’s pedalling leg is almost fully extended at the bottom of each stroke. The handlebars should be the same height as the seat and should allow an upright posture to enable a good range of vision
  • it is a good idea to check the bike’s weight. Many children’s bikes are simply cut down adult versions and far too heavy. Ideally the bike should not weigh more than 13KG
  • make sure the bike is equipped with a full set of regulation reflectors (white at the front, red on the rear wheel and at the back)
  • buy a well fitting cycle helmet. You should only buy a helmet if it carries a CE mark and one of the normal safety standards eg. BS683:1989, AS.2063, ANSI, IZZ 90.4 SNELL, B90 or B95
  • teach your child how to lock up their bike correctly

Cycle parking

If your school wishes to encourage pupils and staff to cycle to school it is vital to provide secure cycle parking on site. The cycle parking facilities should be clearly visible and accessible and where possible be covered to provide shelter in poor weather. For more information regarding choosing cycle parking visit the Sustrans website.


There are various ways for schools to receive cycle parking facilities at the school grounds. Find out about the different grants and funding sources available.

‘On Your Bike’ guidance

On Your Bike is a guidance booklet produced by Transport for London. It contains useful information and case studies about what other London schools have done to promote cycling to school.

Cycle scheme for school staff  (how to buy a tax-free bike)

Cycling to work has its financial benefits, as well as health an environmental. Did you know you could save £1,000 a year by cycling to work? (based on a £250 bike and a 5 mile journey through zones 1 and 2).

Need a bike? Through the cycle to work scheme you can save up to 42% on a bike by paying in instalments from your pre-tax salary. It is easy for schools to set up their own scheme, visit Cyclescheme for more information.

Page updated on: 3 January 2020