WORCESTERSHIRE schools are being invited to take part in a national cycling initiative being held in March.

The Big Pedal aims to get children cycling to school, and the campaign will see pupils, their parents and teachers leave their cars at home and use their bike to make the journey to and from the school.

The initiative runs between Monday, March 20, and Friday, March 31, and is a campaign from national walking and cycling charity Sustrans.

It is being funded by the Bicycle Association and is backed by double Olympic gold medallist cyclist Joanna Rowsell Shand.

A competition is being run as part of the scheme with schools, during the 10 days, encouraged to compete with each other to make the most journeys by bike or scooter.

This year's theme for the event is around the world in 10 days, with pupils tracking their progress on a map of the world and youngsters learning about the countries and cities they pass through on their way.

Mrs Rowsell Shand said "Cycling is great for young people’s health, confidence and independence. The safer and more comfortable they feel on their bikes, the more they will enjoy cycling.

“The Big Pedal campaign is a fantastic way for kids to cycle together whilst learning about the rules of the road in a fun, engaging way.

"I hope this year as many schools as possible will take part.”

Matt Easter, Sustrans' England director for the Midlands, added: “The Big Pedal is fun and inclusive, it helps schools to encourage whole families to lead more active lives.

"The average primary school journey is just 1.6 miles – the perfect distance to walk or cycle helping to reduce car traffic and pollution around the school gates.”

Schools unable to take part in the main challenge can also take part in a one day version.

For more information on the initiative visit bigpedal.org.uk.