Spring visit to Stratford Velo-Park official opening

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View of the Velodrome and BMX track

In March two Bike It secondary schools got the opportunity to be the first schools in the country to try out the new mountain bike skills area at the Stratford VeloPark.  Students who regularly cycle to Oaks Park High School (Redbridge) and Sydney Russell School (Barking and Dagenham) were chosen by their school champions for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

“It’s not every day you get to be part of the official opening of an Olympic legacy venue.”

Arriving at the Velodrome
Arriving at the VeloPark

As they arrived the sun was shining and the group were met with the inspiring timber facade of the Velodrome, towering above them. “Thoughts of the British Olympic cycling champions such as Hoy, Trott, and Pendelton, surely added to  their excitement.”

Once kitted out with helmets and  brand new Condor mountain bikes, they made their way to the skills area.  On the way to the trail a brief stop to take in the scale of the BMX track was unavoidable and I am sure they will be tempted back to have a go on this national standard track soon.

A team photo opportunity
A team photo opportunity

Bike It officers Andy Casson and James Scott (both qualified mountain bike coaches) coached the students through a range of bike handling techniques including the ready position, cornering, and weight shift, enabling them to negotiate the challenging track, with some confident enough to ride the small step downs on the Red graded section.  The sessions were over all too soon for the participants who were all eager to continue riding.  Talk of coming back to ride the full 8km mountain bike trail when it opens this summer  ensued and so a new generation of mountain bikers is born.

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Lending a helping hand
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Trying out the disc brakes
Cornering
Cornering
Leading the way
Follow the leader

For the rest of the day the groups saw Laura Trott (Elite level track and road cyclist and gold medal winning Olympian) who was there to support the official opening, delivering a speech on how the venue will be accessible to the local community and elite athletes alike.  They also took the opportunity to look around the rest of the facility taking in the view from the BMX start ramp and the inside of  the Velodrome.   “Not a bad day out for a bunch of enthusiastic school cyclists.”

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Dropping in to the ‘Red run’
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An interview with Laura Trott Team GB

The Stratford VeloPark is now formally open and provides a great opportunity for schools and the public to try out one of four cycle disciplines including track, mountain bike, BMX and road.  Check out the Lee Valley VeloPark website for details.

In the meantime think about what things you can do and offer to encourage cycling at your school.

Andy ( Bike It Officer)

 

 

 

 

Pupils Bike Dance to show off new school bikes

Year 5 and 6 pupils at James Oglethorpe Primary in Essex have impressed their parents and peers, by developing a sequence of Bike Dance moves to the pop song “Wings” and performing it on their brand new school bikes.

Bike Dance performers celebrate afterwards with the head teacher
The Bike It Crew dancers celebrate with the head

The 9 pupils who are all part of the Bike It Crew, worked with Bike It Officer Lucy ** to come up with ideas for moves and they practised on the bikes at lunchtimes in preparation for two big performances, one in front of the parents and then in front of the whole school!

Watch this space for a fantastic video, release date imminent!!

The eight new bikes were purchased from Raleigh, using a grant from Transport for London, and will allow pupils who don’t have a bike, or who can’t bring their bike to school, to still take part in Bikeability classes and Bike Club at the school.

The head teacher Ms Rowles was highly impressed with the performance, saying: “Your dexterity and agility on the bikes was fantastic and I can see that you have developed some excellent cycling skills.”

One of the girls in the Bike It Crew also wrote a catchy tune about cycling which four of the girls sang as an introduction to the performance. They hope that now all parents and pupils are aware of the school bikes they will be put to lots of good use!

Mrs Sait, who works in reception and supports the Bike It programme at the school, has done a great job to obtain the funding for the bikes, along with a fleet of helmets, hi-vis jackets and some basic tools to keep the bikes in good condition.

the new bikes proudly hanging in the shed
the new bikes proudly hanging in the shed

Are you a school staff member, parent or pupil and want bikes for your school?

To apply for the TfL grant, your school needs to be accredited on the STARS system: http://www.staccreditation.org.uk/school/staccreditation.php

Once you have done this you will be put in touch with your borough School Travel Advisor who can advise you on how to apply for grants for cycle storage, school bikes and other financial benefits.

 

 

 

**With special thanks to Ruth Chiat who introduced the concept of Bike Dance and gave expert advice to Lucy and the Bike It Crew.

BMX Star visits Brent’s Big Pedal Star School!

The Big Pedal, Sustrans’ annual national cycling to school competition, went off with a bang in Brent this year.

Salusbury Primary slammed the Large Primary School Category, winning  the Top Slot in Brent!

They came  in 4th place in London and 47th place nationally.

over 50% of the school were on their bikes and scooters, as well as parents, little sista’s and bro’s, and lots of the school staff too.

Keelan Phillips, the world champion flatland BMX Star was the top Brent prize! They lapped up their well deserved victory!

Keelan spent a whole day at the school. He performed 2 shows and held workshops for the top Big Pedal classes, teaching them how to do some of the tricks that he performs. Children were in awe at his superb show of skills and were super excited to have a go on Keelan’s bikes. They picked up the basics really well and are now inspired to keep learning more. The whole school has gone BMX mad!

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In the Secondary School Category, Queens Park Community School came top in Brent and in London, and came 27th nationally. They will also be receiving a visit from Keelan, very soon!

15 of Brent’s  Bike It schools  took part in The Big Pedal this year. The competition was a massive success and had a huge impact on cycling in the borough. All schools taking part saw very impressive results…

And now check out the STATS!

This year Brent Bike It schools combined have achieved an unprecedented number of journeys!

  • Total journeys: 22299
  • Child journeys (bike): 7379
  • Child journeys (scooter): 9740
  • Supporter journeys: 5180

I’m so proud. Well done Everyone!

For more information about The Big Pedal visit

bigpedal.org.uk/

Are you wondering what Bike It Plus has been up to in West London?

Then read on!

Big Pedal

Six Bike It schools in the two boroughs took part in the Big Pedal competition this year and tirelessly promoted cycling and scooting to school over the course of two weeks in March: Blair Peach Primary, Grange Park Junior, Newham Junior, Ruislip Gardens Primary, Saint Raphael Catholic Primary School, and Wolf Fields Primary. Together they reached a total of 7072 journeys to school made by bike or scooter. Well done everyone for achieving such great results! Many Congratulations to Grange Park which came 12th out of all 110 London schools which participated in the competition this year which is a fantastic outcome.

Just look at these overloaded bike shelters!

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Cycle games

Blair Peach celebrated pupils’ achievements during the Big Pedal with a massive Bike It Breakfast and Cycle Skills and Games Sessions:

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…And Ruislip Gardens Primary held the exciting Cycling Olympic Games for their pupils in Years 4 and 5 which pupils thoroughly enjoyed:

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Balanceability training

Saint Raphael’s Catholic School decided to extend the joys of Bike It Plus to all, including those youngest in school – nearly all Nursery and Reception children had their balanceability training at school delivered by the Bike It Officer for Hillingdon and Ealing, Magda Sikora:

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Bling your bike & scooter

Other Bike It schools in Ealing and Hillingdon were also busy promoting cycling to school and did a great job in shifting pupils from cars to two wheels! For example, the Spring themed Bling your Bike & Scooter competition at Warrender Primary was once again a great success with a total of 34 fantastic entries:

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Field End Junior School chose another wonderful theme for their Bling your Bike, ‘My favourite book character’. Can you guess which books these bikes are from?

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Bike swap

One of the most popular events in Ealing was the Bike Swap to which two Southall schools were invited: Blair Peach and Wolf Fields Primary. The event was organised jointly by Ealing Council and Sustrans Bike It Plus and aimed to ensure that children have roadworthy bicycles that are a suitable size for them and allow them to cycle to school; as well as making use of outgrown bicycles that otherwise would be left to waste. The bikes were then repaired and checked by qualified mechanics. The first bike collection event was very successful with over 30 children attending with their parents. To date 29 children have received roadworthy bikes of the correct size and the second round of the bike swap will take place this term.

Dr Bike

Dr Bike sessions were also hugely successful in both boroughs and thanks to the support of the Ealing and Hillingdon Borough Councils and bike mechanics at London Bike Hub in Ealing and Home Counties Cycling in Hillingdon we were able to improve the condition of many children’s bikes. On one occasion we had 100 bikes to attend to (at Ruislip Gardens Primary School), and in Ealing the record number last term has been around 40, as for example at Horsenden Primary School:

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And this has been only the beginning of the good weather to come, so watch this space and see what Bike It Plus schools can achieve in the summer term!