HIGH school bike fanatics brought the spirit of the Tour de France to Southend as more than 400 people cycled around the town.

Cycling mad Southend High School for Boys organised the mass cycle through the town in preparation for the biggest bike race in the world, which is coming through Essex on Monday, July 7, although the school hold the ride as an annual event.

Pupils aged between 11 and 14 rode 14 miles from the school to Shoebury’s East Beach on Friday.

They cycled through the back roads of the town’s vast cycle paths, with all pupils having a thoroughly enjoyable time.

The route was marshalled by SUSTRANS, a national bike charity, with support from Cycle Southend, with the aim of keeping pupils fit.


Wave us off - the youngsters are away on their ride around Southend

“The case for pupils cycling to and from school is compelling,” said Headteacher Robin Bevan, who is a dedicated cyclist himself.

“In the last five years more than 100,000 pupil journeys to our school have been undertaken by bike. As many as 100 pupils arrive by bike on any one day of the week. Our programme of lessons and activities makes this message clear, and seeks to dispel a range of myths.

“Cycling is safe, healthy, cheap, swift and a superb induction into road awareness. Our Big Bike Ride is an annual celebration of our commitment to cycling and a lot of fun for the pupils.”

Southend High School for Boys has gained cycling fame after being the only UK school to be selected to feature in a European documentary about pupils cycling to and from schools.