Simon Storey, a participant in the Choose How You Move in Warwick District challenge, got in touch with BetterPoints in January 2022 to introduce The Bicycle Bus.
Simon is a British Cycling accredited coach whose daughter attends St Margaret's Junior School in Whitnash, Warwickshire. He explained how he wanted to do something about the fact that just 3% of children cycle to school1. He believes that cycling to school should be an option open to everyone.
To help realise this, Simon set up The Bicycle Bus in 2020 to service three local schools: St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Briar Hill Infant School and St Margaret’s Junior School.
A bicycle bus is when a ride leader meets children and parents along a planned route at agreed points and the group cycles to school together.
To get the local initiative off the ground, Simon called upon the support of friends, his employer, local charities and grant funders to secure a website, Hi Vis vests, insurance and Ride Leader training.
He calculates that £2,500 has been committed to the cause, along with many hours of his own time.
All the hard work is paying dividends. In the three years that The Bicycle Bus has been running, there have been 75 rides on two different routes, at an average of 10-15 participants per ride. This equates to five or six cars being taken off the road for each bicycle bus.
Not only do the numbers demonstrate the positive impact, but the feedback from parents is also resounding:
“We used to drive to school as I was worried about cars overtaking and generally not giving cyclists enough space on the road. Being part of The Bicycle Bus removes these worries as we cycle together as a large group. It prevents cars from trying to overtake unless it is definitely clear to do so. Cycling on the road is now less daunting for me and my young son. If it wasn’t for The Bicycle Bus helping build my son’s confidence in riding and helping me feel safer on the roads with him, we would still be driving to school.” - Sophie
"It’s an excellent initiative that would make a huge difference in so many ways if it could be implemented for all schools across the country. It tackles environmental and parking issues, promotes health and wellbeing and is great fun for all involved! It is beneficial to the body and mind of not only the school children but their accompanying parents.” - Andy
To support Simon is his endeavour, BetterPoints, in collaboration with the three Whitnash schools, ran a Sustran’s Big Walk and Wheel inspired campaign in March 2023. It incentivised parents and children to join The Bicycle Bus and more generally walk, wheel, cycle or scoot the school run.
During the four week campaign, 24 Bicycle Bus journeys were undertaken by BetterPoints users in Warwick District and 436 miles of active travel to school were recorded.
The Choose How You Move in Warwick District challenge continues to provide a platform to The Bicycle Bus with ongoing messaging through the app.
Despite the huge success to date, Simon is not resting on his laurels. He has supported the launch of similar initiatives across the UK, from Bury St Edmunds to the Highlands of Scotland and he’s not stopping there:
“I have a long term goal to make The Bicycle Bus a viable alternative to driving on the school run. I meet regularly with local, District and County Council officials to discuss infrastructure projects because they really will make a difference, as well as further funding and growth opportunities. I’ve been discussing the idea of providing the service to other schools too.”
With Simon’s passion, expertise and determination, The Bicycle Bus will no doubt go from strength to strength.
If your child doesn't attend one of the local schools, but you would like to have a bicycle bus for your school run, Simon is here to help. You can get in touch with him by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.