“Let’s go back in time… in 1998 a small girl headed home through the gates of Comberton to find her bike, her smiling father, and NO stabilisers… she was scared! In 2018 she walked back through the gates this time in a GB Cycling Team jersey, as a World Series Champion”
That’s how Comberton Primary School’s big cycling week started, with ex-pupil and lead coach of Opentrail.co.uk coming back to school to inspire the next generation of champions. The school had a BIG ambition to provide a full week of cycling activities for EVERY member of the school during the first week of the Tour de France, but with a very small budget. Big Bike Revival came to the rescue, providing the necessary funds and support, Spokes provided the bikes and Open Trail provided the coaching, local knowledge and mechanics.
The whole school took part, ages from 3-11 year olds, and they LOVED IT!
The nursery and reception age children had a balance bike race track all set up to whizz around on, years 1 and 2 powered their legs to make delicious smoothies on the smoothy bike, years 3 and 4 had expert coaching from ex-pupil Hannah Escott, and years 5 and 6 enlisted in the most exhilarating exercise bike relay we’d ever seen! Everyone was welcome to get their bike safety checked and fixed for free by their on-site Dr Bike. Years 2-6 also received Open Trail and Hannah Escott’s “Dare to Dream?” inspirational assembly.
The week brought a fantastic atmosphere to the school with everyone buzzing about the competitions and fun! Bikes of all sizes came bursting into the school from all directions. TV programmes and computer games were left high and dry with talk of cycling challenges, skills and accomplishments taking top priority! Even the caretaker sported a different retro mountain bike jersey every day!
The Big Bike Revival Innovation fund funded a fantastic fleet of 9 bikes for the school, supplied by Spokes a well-known long established charity in Kidderminster that helps train adults with learning difficulties, and provide them with workplace skills, taking in old unwanted bikes, refurbishing them to very high standards and selling them on to the public.
Big Bike Revival also covered the costs of local charity and cycling provider Open Trail who coached 120 pupils form years 3 and 4 in cycling; giving them all the chance to learn to use brakes and gears correctly, complete bike handling challenges and even race each other. Open Trail were also able to provide Dr Bike who fixed 17 of the pupils/parents and staff bikes. As well as provide their inspiring assembly “Dare to Dream?” 12 pupils in year 3 and 4 learned to ride for the first time in the initial week, with 9 more picking up the skills in a follow up session the next week. Meanng that every pupil in years 3 and 4 at Comberton Primary can ride a bike: what a fantastic commitment to cycling!
There was huge excitement around year 5 and 6 as the stationary bike relay caused hot debate and competition all week! On the second to last day an average of 300km had been completed by each class! And less than 4km split last to first place! By the finish there was 3 km between 1st and last with just 0.2km between first and second! WOW!
With all the commotion over just one week we cannot stop there! Comberton plan to use their new fleet of bikes to provide an after-school cycling club and opportunities to ride Stourport Sports Club next academic year! Open Trail are interested in replicating Comberton’s master cycling week at other schools across the area to bring more cycling frenzy!