Published: 8 October 2013
Report: British Cycling
On this week’s Blue Peter, presenter Barney Harwood tries his hand at riding the velodrome for the first time. He also trains with some young riders from the Go-Ride programme, at Red Rose Olympic Go-Ride Club in Preston, and tackles some serious uphill action on the scenic, but strenuous, roads of the Peak District.
Above: Barney Harwood (left) is put through his paces with riders from Red Rose Olympic Go-Ride club.
It’s all part of a wider project, where the team at British Cycling trained up the presenter for one of the biggest challenges of his life… joining a leg of the tour of Britain. On Monday 16 September, Barney 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 stage two 120 mile route, while Barney rode a direct route of 55 miles.
This week’s programme features the second of a four-part series on Blue Peter, which shows Barney’s story from training to challenge. In addition to support from British Cycling coach, Charlie Evans, Barney was also 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.
In the frame: Red Rose Olympic's Jack Humphreys and Becky Preece
The six young riders are all from the Go-Ride club in Barney’s local area, Red Rose Olympic, and in this week’s show, we see Barney training with the team at Preston Sports Arena.
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. Barney has been through that exact pathway himself.
“We go into schools and deliver Go-Ride cycling sessions to young people who don’t ride bikes. We teach them how to ride the bike and six weeks later they take part in a Go-Ride Race. Barney has gone through exactly the same pathway – the challenge is his competition at the end of it.”
Prior to the challenge, Barney hadn’t touched a bike in years, so it was a tall order to make him a cyclist in just 12 short weeks. The six young riders, which included Jack Humphreys and Becky Preece as team captains, supported Barney every step of the way, before they all came together as Team Blue Peter on the day of the challenge.
Barney said: “I’m now a lot fitter than I was 12 weeks ago and it’s largely down to riders like Jack and Becky, who really have helped me and got me excited about the sport.
“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.”
“I think every single kid in the UK should have a go at this. It’s a sport where everybody gets involved and you feel part of a team, which is a great thing to feel. When you’ve got support from friends and a club that you belong to, it gives you a real purpose and drive and ambition to do something well.”
The next three parts of the Blue Peter Big Bike challenge will air on CBBC on 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 in Kendal.
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.