“Why does Open Trail exist? Because too many adults forget how much fun cycling is and too many young people never get to experience some of the greatest things in life: the freedom of cycling, being outdoors, and the determination to do make great things happen… that’s why!”
When Open Trail first came across Big Bike Revival in 2015 we knew we could make a difference to a lot people! Now in our 4th year of working together and Open Trail is now enabling schools, that it previously spoon fed cycling to, to manage their own bikes, cycling specific budgets and use the fantastic local cycling resources around them to run their own cycling programs. Open Trail is always there with a guiding hand, mechanics and coaches and Big Bike Revival provide fantastic funding and support. This year Franche Primary School, Beacon PRU, Comberton Primary School and Sandwell Academy took on the challenge and have had huge success! From a family of support from Big Bike Revival, Open Trail, Spokes and Postcode Community Trust Fund they now have their own bike fleets, as well as regular coaching sessions and mechanics checks!
For Open Trail this is great to see but there are still more schools and community groups that need our support in cycling. This year the two new schools we introduced to cycling are Pedmore Technology College School and Redhill Secondary School. Both establishment have not had cycling provision before, besides a small amount of cycle parking, but they see a lot of potential based on the number of bikes that come through their gates everyday!
With Big Bike Revival Open Trail provided them with their inspirational “Dare to Dream?” presentation from Hannah Escott, World Series Champion and GB Cycling Team racer; the story of a school girl who was rubbish at PE but went on to race for her country all over the world! Along with all the crashes, hardship and challenges that crossed her path to victory. Meanwhile Dr Bike was busy providing the pupils and staff with free safety checks and repairs to ensure all the bikes were fit to be used in coaching sessions, journies to school and all the adventures before them over the summer holidays.
After busy mornings the afternoons led to fantastic cycle coaching sessions with the GB Team racer. Seeing douzens of pupils run their bikes out and keenly work on their skills. We had a range of abilities from pupils that had only recently found their balance to BMX freestylers and motorcross fans; they all turned their hands to road cycling and mountain bike skills. Every pupil took to it on with great enthusiasm and embraced a lot of new challenges and supported each other through them. They were racing, doing drop offs, riding off road, riding down steps, completing team challenges and technical games. It was very promising to see the pupils, of all ages, throw all their energy in to completing the challenges and they kept coming back for more!
Open Trail also hosted a couple of learn to ride events, inviting members of the local community, of all ages, to learn to ride a bike for the first time. As well as teaching over 30 children in their school sessions Open Trail reached 9 people from the general community, adults and children alike who finally learned to balance a bike and ride around the park all