Why do so many Kesgrave children cycle to school?
- Credit: Archant
Kesgrave High School has the highest rate of children who cycle to school in the UK - so why do these pupils see two wheels as better than four?
Hitching a lift to school with the taxi of mum and dad can be only too tempting for many young people.
But at Kesgrave High School near Ipswich, two wheels really is better than four - as figures have shown that it has the highest proportion of children who cycle to school of anywhere in the country.
Whereas the car seems to be dominant mode of transport for the school run in most places, Kesgrave High estimates that between 700 and 800 of its 1,900 students bike to classes each day.
The high numbers, largely inspired by the strong network of cycle paths in the Grange Farm area, also means Kesgrave High has one of the highest rates of student cyclists in Europe.
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"As Grange Farm has grown, planners have been very good at putting in cycleways," said the school's deputy headteacher Tim Legg.
"People can get pretty much anywhere by bike, without having to go anywhere by roads.
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"The vast majority of students therefore come via cycleways - we probably have about 700 to 800 students who cycle."
While it has not completely solved traffic problems outside the school, as many youngsters travel from further afield and do need a lift, the high number of cyclists has perhaps made congestion easier than it might have been.
With parents today increasingly needing to work later and unable to make the school run in any event, Mr Legg also said it was reassuring for parents to know children can cycle safely to and from home.
The sheer number of keen cyclists has posed a problem of its own, namely ensuring there is somewhere for students to leave their bikes safely.
The school has therefore invested in a bike park area with locked gates, where cycles are secured during the day.
And while some might think a cycle ride at the start of the day might tire some out before the school bells have even rung, Mr Legg says it has actually had the opposite effect.
"The health benefits are clear for us to see," he said.
"For some of our students, if they are doing 20mins walking or cycling at the start of the day, they tend to be more switched on and ready to start the day."