A team of young cyclists from Preston have been selected to join a children’s television presenter for a Blue Peter challenge.
Above: Blue Peter's Barney Harwood with British Cycling Go-Ride Coach Dylan Clayton and members of Red Rose Olympic cycling club at Preston Arena.
Presenter, Barney Harwood, has been challenged by Blue Peter producers to join a leg of the Tour of Britain on Monday 16 September.
Over the past 12 weeks, British Cycling has been preparing Barney for the challenge, with coaches putting him through a comprehensive training schedule.
British Cycling has also paired Barney with six riders from the Go-Ride club in Preston, Red Rose Olympic. The young cyclists have been training alongside Barney and will ride with him as Team Blue Peter on the day of the challenge.
Team Blue Peter will set off from the Tour of Britain start line in Carlisle and try to make it across the finish line in Kendal before the elite riders. The elite riders will follow the 120 mile stage two route, while Team Blue Peter travels a direct route of 55 miles.
Jack Humphreys (18), Becky Preece (16), Caroline Humphreys (16), Bill Cooper (16), Tom Clarke (14) and Jack Cooper (20) are all keen cyclists who have developed their skills by regularly attending sessions at Red Rose Olympic Go-Ride cycling club.
Caroline said: “Riding as a team will be very helpful for Barney, because we’ll be able to shield him from the wind, get him some bottles and food if he needs it, and be supportive as team mates.”
Jack said: “Training with Barney has been really good, it’s something we’re not used to doing. It’s been quite challenging, but it’s been fun as well because we’ve seen him improve. By going to the Go-Ride sessions, Barney has learnt the skills he needs to control his bike during the challenge.”
British Cycling’s Go-Ride programme is a network of cycling clubs, which provide a fun and safe way to introduce young riders to the world of cycle sport.
British Cycling Go-Ride coach for the North West, Dylan Clayton, said: “As Go-Ride coaches, we introduce young riders to the sport of cycling and teach them the skills to ride their bikes confidently. We’ve taken Barney through that exact pathway.
“Now, he likes getting on the bike, he’s learnt a lot about the techniques and he’s really enjoyed working with the riders from the Go-Ride cycling club. He’s going to rely heavily on them to get through the challenge, to work with him to take some of the elements away from him and give him that encouragement.”
Barney said: “It makes such a massive difference when you’re riding with somebody else, especially the Go-Ride team, who know exactly what they’re doing. They’re incredibly talented, very good at what they do.”
The Blue Peter cycling challenge will air on CBBC on 3 October, 10 October, 17 October and 24 October. Tune in at 5.30pm to find out if Team Blue Peter makes it to the finish line.
Barney added: “I think every single kid in the UK should have a go at cycling. It’s such a brilliant thing to do. When you’ve got support from friends and a club that you belong to, it gives you a real purpose, a real drive and ambition to do something well.”
British Cycling’s Go-Ride programme is a network of cycling clubs, which provide a fun and safe way to introduce young riders to the world of cycle sport. For more information, please visit www.britishcycling.org.uk/go-ride.