These students use a kid-powered 10-seater bike bus to get to school
By Ed Cullinane via SWNS
A schoolkids' minibus has been replaced with a 10-seater bike bus with kids pedaling themselves on the school run.
Used every day by three local schools, the bike bus picks up kids at the school gates and takes them to their after school clubs at Evesham Adventure Playground.
The eco-friendly transport replaced the diesel-guzzling minibus which used to ferry the kids to and from the center on the afternoon school run.
Alternating between the schools each day, the kids are helped out by an onboard battery to get them up hills during the one mile or so journey.
The £8,000 bike is steered by an adult, but the pedal power comes from the kids sat behind them, as it navigates traffic on the roads in Evesham, Worcestershire.
It is run by Evesham Adventure Playground, who run the after school groups, and bought the bike from France, where they are used by kids to get to and from village schools.
Dave Boucker, 63, the organization's programme manager, said: "Part of our philosophy at the playground has always been to reuse and recycle.
"We won an award from the local district council for our greening project for example.
"It was a bike repair program, where we reclaimed bikes from landfills and did them up with the kids to ensure that every kid has a bike to ride that is safe.
"From that we went looking for other ways that we could be a lot greener - starting with a green mini-bus, an electric one, that we could replace our diesel bus with.
"However still now that's a bit out of our price range.
"So while looking at that we came across this group in France that were using the bikes to pick up kids from the villages in France.
"We thought that would be a great way of killing two birds with one stone, both by helping our greening programs and also by getting kids active".
Bought in a 'two for one' deal, the group bought two of the 'bus bikes' for £16,000 using council funds and crowdfunding.
They have been using one since mid-December, and loaned the other to a group in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
Community organizations from across the country have since come to watch it in action.
Dave added: "Most of the kids that go on the bikes are between four and 14, but we're looking at how we can develop the program to get older kids to do bike rides with other people around the area.
"This could be with older people for example, to help the elderly feel less isolated.
"We're very careful on how we use the bus bike, if we used it every day people would probably get a bit bored of it.
"Also with the weather we have at the moment it would become a bit off-putting.
"We mainly use it to substitute some of the minibus miles we do.
"We pick up from a number of local schools, so we rotate the bike between schools each night.
"The kids really enjoy it and it's a great way to get kids who are not very involved in sports or active to get some physical activity done.
"It's also a great way of encouraging group work, and working in teams.
"It's really interesting when you're on the bike because the kids are seeing, smelling and experiencing different things.
"They also really interact with the local community on the bike, so it's a good way of engaging with local people too and showing what we do.
"So we're hitting lots of targets with health, and wellbeing, as well as building confidence in kids too, and helping the community".
Distances covered by the bus bike tends to be no more than a mile and a half, avoiding exhausting the kids or putting them of using it.
Dave added: "It's quite a nice ride usually, plus its battery-assisted so we can get up some hills.
"It's all very heavily risk assessed. It's really safe, and so parents are all happy that their kids are doing something more active after school.
"They always say how 'little Jonny would be on his iPad' if it wasn't for the activities we put on.
"Now they're doing 20 minutes of activity to get them to and from the playground.".
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