INTREPID pupils hit top gear as they set off for a cycling adventure to mark their final week in primary school.

Year 6 leavers at West Park Academy, Darlington, put the wheels in motion for a 12-mile bike ride along the town’s cycle paths before enjoying a celebratory picnic in South Park.

The 36 pupils were joined by six members of staff and bike leader Kevin Kilcullen from cycling firm Wheel Education, who also gave each bike a full maintenance inspection before the group headed off.

“We have been working with the pupils as part of cycle safety week to demonstrate the social, health and environmental benefits of cycling, as well as holding workshops around bike safety and awareness,” said Mr Kilcullen.

“Darlington has some fantastic cycle paths and we will be using the circular route which takes in more of the quiet residential streets before heading to South Park for a well deserved rest.

“Responsible cycling is great fun and a fantastic way to keep active and the pupils have been really looking forward to the ride.”

The cycle ride is part of a host of activities planned for the Year 6 pupils’ last week at the academy, including a final day leavers’ assembly attended by pupils, staff, parents, carers, family and friends.

Year 6 teaching assistant and lead for PE Caroline Black said: “Around 60 per cent of our pupils choose to cycle to school which is fantastic.

“The advantages of riding a bike and leading a healthy lifestyle are immense and it has been shown pupils who cycle to school really benefit from increased awareness in lessons.

“Having a physical challenge that all of the pupils really enjoy is a great way to end their time here at West Park Academy.”

Pupil Oye Bentik, 11, of Darlington, added: “I love riding my bike and often cycle to school on a morning.

“Twelve miles is a lot further that I usually ride but I’m really looking forward to it, especially taking part with all of my friends.”