Pedal power has helped a group of students from Germany to check out the beauty of South Tyneside.
Pupils from the borough’s twin town of Wuppertal took part in a six day visit, last month.
Their stay included taking part in a Geography lesson at St Wilfrid’s RC College in South Shields and a bike tour along the coast and riverside after meeting up with the school’s cycle club and members of the Green Route Club.
They also visited the National Glass Centre and Wildlife Wetlands Trust in Washington.
The bikes were loaned from the new Sustrans Cycle Hub at Temple Park.
Students from both schools also took part in a 52-mile trip to the Youth Ministry in Consett.
Helen Nuttall, sports co-ordinator at St Wilfrid’s, said: “Since we linked up with Gymnasium Kothen and got the ‘green route’ bug the whole cycling thing has really taken off.
“We now have a very active club which meets weekly and pupils and adults have taken part in a programme of rides, cycle training and bike maintenance and leadership courses.”
Gymnasium Kothen first linked up with St Wilfrid’s in 2011 after they cycled to the town. Pupils from St Wilfrid’s carried out a return journey in 2012.
Chairman of the South Tyneside Green Route Club, set up to promote cycle friendship exchanges between South Shields and Wuppertal, Tom Fennelly, said: “It is wonderful to see how these twin town friendship exchanges between the two schools are growing. It is also encouraging to see more and more youngsters and adults joining in cycling activities in South Tyneside and Wuppertal.”
Coun Porthouse said: “It is wonderful to welcome the students from Wuppertal back to the borough.
“This has been a very exciting time for both schools as they have had the chance to explore South Tyneside while cycling together.
“Friendships have blossomed and bonds between the two schools have been strengthened.”