HUNDREDS OF children, parents and teachers are gearing up for a big cycling challenge.

A giant cycling and scooting competition will see schools in Darlington encourage their staff and students to get on their bikes.

The country-wide Big Pedal 2013 race will see schools across the country compete for a chance to win big national prizes, like bike storage.

Closer to home, a lively performance from a Cycling Stunt Team will be the first prize for whichever Darlington school comes out on top. The competition spans 15 days from Thursday, February 28 to Wednesday, March 20 and will see pupils compete to win a virtual stage race.

Each real-time journey to school cycled by staff and pupils will contribute to the speed and distance the school races virtually. The Big Pedal 2012 saw over 890,000 journeys to school made by bike and scooter by pupils at almost 1,000 schools across the UK.

Councillor David Lyonette, Darlington Council’s Cabinet Member of Transport, said: “The Big Pedal shows children and parents how easy it is to get around on two wheels, whilst at the same time saving money, boosting their health and helping the environment.”