I kicked off my week in Wigan and Leigh with a series of school visits. I visited several different primary schools around the area, speaking to individual classes as well as presenting to bigger groups in the school halls.
It was wonderful to have the opportunity to meet so many different children and get them all excited and interested in cycling. For the younger classes (Reception, Year 1,2 and 3) I kept the focus on exploring the world of bicycles and all the fun things you can do on a bike.
It was great to find that the older children (Year 4,5 and 6) already had a good knowledge and experience of cycling so we spoke a lot more specifically about cycling topics that interested them as well as leading them to explore how cycling can be good for their health, the environment as well as a good way to save money and time.
Whilst I was getting cycling into everyone’s minds, lots of the older children were also looking forward to visiting the Streetvelodrome later in the week so it was a perfect opportunity to tell the children more about this, answer any questions they had, as well as introduce some of my fellow pros that they would get to meet at the weekend.
I took my bike and helmet into each classroom and it was lovely to take a few moments with the children to look at my bike and ask any questions about what they could see. I also showed them the safe way to wear a helmet and we discussed what important safety checks they should make on their bike before setting off on a bike ride.
Al the schools I visited were really engaged in my visit – I had non-stop questions and hands waving in the air from the moment I started to when I finally had to leave each class for the next. I was also really impressed to learn how many children had access to bicycles and a good amount were regularly cycling to school. If we can nurture this love of cycling through into their adulthood we’ll have a wonderful cycling population 🙂
Now that the scene was set, it was time for the schools to visit Streetvelodrome in Leigh town centre. I was coaching alongside pro riders Patrick Robinson and Csaba Csenge and it was great to meet all the schools again and join them having a great time on the track.
We had a mixture of school bookings and open public sessions from Thursday until the end of the weekend and it was really lovely to see lots of children come along with their schools but then come back again each evening after school with their parents to have another go!
Saturday and Sunday were the highlight Viking Pro Series races with Round 2 and 3 respectively. Interspersed with the pro racing there was also a young children’s competition as well as youth and adult amateur racing. The best thing about the weekend is that in between the racing all the pro riders are available for the children and public to meet or get coached by on the track.
Alongside myself, Patrick and Csaba who had been there all week we were joined at the weekend by World and Commonwealth track champion Craig MacLean, World BMX champion Charlotte Green, multiple Downhill MTB champion Jess Stone, and Redbull BMX freestyle star Sergio Layos to name just a few!
One seven year old BMX rider was absolutely over the moon to have the opportunity to spend time with his hero Charlotte Green
With two rounds of the Viking Pro Series there was plenty of time for interviews both on and off camera – it was lovely to get the whole of Leigh involved in the event.