Tune in to this week’s Blue Peter to find out if the team at British Cycling successfully trained presenter, Barney Harwood, to join a leg of the Tour of Britain. The programme airs at 5.30pm on CBBC, this Thursday 3 October. The story will be broadcast over the next four weeks, with the big finale showing on Thursday 24 October.
Over a period of three months, the team at British Cycling trained up a Blue Peter presenter for one of the biggest challenges of his life.
Producers at Blue Peter set the presenter, Barney Harwood, the task of joining a leg of the Tour of Britain. On Monday 16 September, he set off from Carlisle, with the aim of making it across the finish line in Kendal before the elite riders.
The elite riders, led by Sir Bradley Wiggins, followed the 120 mile stage two route, while Barney rode a direct route of 55 miles.
In addition to support from a British Cycling coach, Barney was paired up with six young riders from British Cycling’s youth development programme, Go-Ride. The cyclists, aged between 14 and 20, trained alongside Barney and rode with him on the day of the challenge as Team Blue Peter.
Senior Coaching and Education Officer at British Cycling, Charlie Evans, who acted as coach of Team Blue Peter, said:
“We developed a training plan for Barney, which took him from a complete beginner to thinking and behaving like a cyclist. Doing all this in twelve weeks was a tall order; there was a lot we had to get through in a short amount of time. One of the biggest challenges for us was fitting training into Barney’s hectic schedule on the programme.”
Charlie implemented a comprehensive twelve week training plan, which incorporated a variety of disciplines and helped Barney to develop bike handling skills and technique, as well as the physical fitness to ride long distances. Barney’s Go-Ride team mates supported him along the way and joined the training sessions.
Barney said: “Training is hard, but then again, it’s supposed to be. Charlie is an amazing coach. He’s able to gear something directly to you, so it’s a personal thing.
“It also 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.
“I think every single kid in the UK should have a go at cycling. When you’ve got support from friends and a club that you belong to, it gives you a real purpose and real drive and ambition to do something well.”
Throughout his training, Barney benefited from nutritional advice from Team GB, overcame a knee injury and volunteered at a Go-Ride coaching session.
Barney added: “I’m buying a bike, so I’m going to carry on cycling. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, because I like cake and movies and sitting down on comfy chairs. Now I’ve got a bike and I genuinely enjoy myself, so I will be keeping it up, definitely.”
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 made it to the finish line.
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.
For more information about British Cycling’s coaching department, please visit www.britishcycling.org.uk/coaching