Beeslack High School gets in the saddle

Pupils at the lunch of the new Beeslack Bike Club, with Gillian Bathgate, of Midlothian Council, depute head Tom Hepburn and Matthew MacDonald, of Cycling Scotland.

Pupils at the lunch of the new Beeslack Bike Club, with Gillian Bathgate, of Midlothian Council, depute head Tom Hepburn and Matthew MacDonald, of Cycling Scotland.

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More than 30 pupils and staff donned helmets and waterproofs for the official launch of the Beeslack Bike Club. Anyone arriving on two wheels was welcomed with a hearty breakfast of bacon butties by staff at Beeslack Community High School in Penicuik.

There to greet them was deputy head Tom Hepburn, Gillian Bathgate, the Midlothian Council’s schools travel plan co-ordinator, and Matthew MacDonald, of Cycling Scotland, the national cycling promotion organisation.

Cycling Scotland has awarded the council almost £8,000 for the project, which has allowed the school to buy 20 bikes and cycling equipment, install storage areas and transform a room in the school into a bike maintenance area. Around 100 pupils and staff have already expressed an interest in using the bikes or joining the club.

A new cycle path linking the campus to the Penicuik to Dalkeith cycleway has also been completed as a planning condition of the Dalmore Mill housing site in Auchendinny.

Meanwhile, on the A701 outside the school, the speed limit has been reduced from 40mph to 30mph to help make the route safer for cyclists. Councillor Bob Constable (SNP), the council’s cabinet member with responsibility for school travel, said: “This is a fantastic initiative that will help keep the pupils fit and healthy.

“Previously, it was difficult to make the journey safely from home to Beeslack and, as a result, less than a handful of pupils biked to school.

“To think that now around 100 people in the school will be getting on their bike is an incredible turnaround.”