Rathgormack students show their pedal power with cycling great Sean Kelly

Cycling legend Sean Kelly helped students at Rathgormack National School get into gear for their school’s new cycling to school intiative.

Cycling legend Sean Kelly helped students at Rathgormack National School get into gear for their school’s new cycling to school intiative.

The former No 1 racing cyclist in the world, who hails from Curraghduff just a few miles from Rathgormack, was the special guest at the launch of the school’s first Cycle on Wednesday (COW) Day.

Pupils, parents, teachers and guests all cycled to school on the day to officially launch the School’s cycling initiative, which is part of An Taisce’s Green-School’s Travel Progamme.

More than 95% of the school’s student cycled on the day and they designed posters to promote the cycling event.

Numerous competitions were also organised in the school.

Senior pupils participated in a cycle led by Seán Kelly to the GAA pitch and were rewarded for their effort with refreshments sponsored by Flahavans.

Cycle safety equipment such as helmets, locks and lights, sponsored by An Taisce will be awarded to pupils.

Barry Meehan of World Wide Cycles bike shop in Clonmel gave a demonstration and workshop on bike maintenance to senior pupils.

Other guests at the launch were Johnny Brunnock of the Sean Kelly Tour Committee and Garda Ronan Slevin of Rathgormack Garda Station.

The overall aim of the Green-Schools Travel Programme is to promote sustainable modes of transport to school, including walking, cycling, car sharing and public transport as an alternative to the private car on the school run.

Since starting the programme in September 2009, Rathgormack NS has carried out surveys to determine the patterns of travel to and from school and has worked hard on its campaign to raise awareness of sustainable travel, through seminars and workshops for pupils.

In promoting sustainable travel to school, Rathgormack NS aims to increase the health and fitness of the school community, improve safety on the journey to school, reduce traffic congestion at the school gates and reduce the school’s carbon footprint.

Yvonne Kelly, An Taisce’s Green-Schools Travel Officer for the region, said the school has shown an overwhelming response to the Green-School’s Travel message with the majority of the school cycling on the school’s action day.

“The huge success of the day is a credit to the pupils, principal, parent volunteers and teachers. The number of pupils, who cycled on the day is a clear statement of the school’s commitment to the programme’.

Rathgormack NS Principal Catherine Power said: “Since we began working on Green-Schools Travel in 2009, we have made significant advances in promoting sustainable travel to school by walking, car pooling and through our park and stride initiative and we are very excited to be launching our new cycling initiative.”

She thanked the School’s Green-Schools Committee for their hard work as well as the whole school community, parents and guests at the launch.