British Cycling gears up for TV challenge

British Cycling gears up for TV challenge

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Over the past twelve weeks, the team at British Cycling have been training up a Blue Peter presenter for one of the biggest challenges of his life.

Above: Blue Peter's Barney Harwood receives expert coaching from British Cycling Go-Ride Coach Dylan Clayton.

Producers at Blue Peter set the presenter, Barney Harwood, the task of joining a leg of the Tour of Britain. This Monday 16 September, he will set off from Carlisle and try to make it across the finish line in Kendal before the elite riders.

The elite riders, led by Sir Bradley Wiggins, will follow the 120 mile stage two route, while Barney will ride a direct route of 55 miles.

In addition to support from a British Cycling coach, Barney has been paired up with six young riders from British Cycling’s youth development programme, Go-Ride. The cyclists, aged between 14 and 20, have been training alongside Barney and will ride with him on the day of the challenge as Team Blue Peter.

Senior Coaching and Education Officer at British Cycling, Charlie Evans, who has been coaching Barney throughout the past three months, said:

“We developed a training plan for Barney, which has taken 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.

“Barney now looks like a bike rider and he’s talking like a bike rider. On Monday, we’ll find out if he really is a bike rider.”

Charlie Evans, Senior Coaching and Education Officer, British Cycling  

“Barney now looks like a bike rider and he’s talking like a bike rider. On Monday, we’ll find out if he really is a bike rider.”

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 have 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 has benefited from nutritional advice from Team GB, overcome 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 make 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

For more information about British Cycling’s coaching department, please visit