Cycling opportunities created for children in Alford

Pupils took part in ‘Learn to ride and look after your bike’ sessionsPupils took part in ‘Learn to ride and look after your bike’ sessions
Pupils took part in ‘Learn to ride and look after your bike’ sessions
Active Schools have been working in partnership with Scottish Cycling’s Rock Up and Ride programme (funded by Transport Scotland) and Deeside Thistle Cycling Club (DTCC) to enable local children in Alford and the surrounding rural schools to participate in free, easy to access sessions and increase their cycling activity.

Rock Up & Ride is specifically aimed at children who would not otherwise have access to their own bike, giving them the chance to acquire new skills, techniques, and confidence for cycling in an inclusive environment.

Thirty pupils from Alford and the surrounding rural primaries participated in ‘Learn to ride and look after your bike’ sessions, delivered by Deeside Thistle Cycling Club, hosted at Grampian Transport Museum.

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At the end of the sessions, children were given a brand-new bike to take home along with accessories including a helmet, lock, gloves, lights, and bike maintenance support. The children will be able to use their bikes for active travel such as cycling to school, the shops, or other short journeys, and experience the independence that cycling provides.

Michael Devine, Rock up and Ride Officer for Scottish Cycling said “Scottish Cycling has been given a great opportunity to help young people develop a real love of cycling through the Rock Up and Ride project. Working alongside our fantastic partners, Deeside Thistle, and Active Schools Aberdeenshire, we have managed to provide the pupils in Alford with a brilliant cycling package that has included coaching sessions, a free bike, accessories, and bike servicing.

The programme is designed to help young people become lifelong participants in cycling and encourage them to use their bikes for short everyday journeys. I would like to thank Grampian Transport Museum, Deeside Thistle Cycling Club and Active Schools Aberdeenshire, the coaches and the school and museum staff for their efforts in organising the sessions at Grampian Transport Museum and I look forward to working alongside them for future Rock Up and Ride sessions.”

Feedback forms were completed by the participants at the end of the programme praising the coaches for their supportive coaching style and highlighting the different ways they plan to continue using their new bikes including for fun, fitness and to travel to and from school.

Kathleen Fraser, DTCC Coach, said “It has been extremely rewarding as a coach to help children learn to ride a bike and develop their cycling skills. The children have grown in confidence and have been an absolute delight to coach, demonstrating enthusiasm and determination to learn a new skill. We know that they will enjoy riding to school and continue to have fun riding with their friends on bikes.”

Kerry Barlow from Active Schools Aberdeenshire, said “The Rock up and Ride project has been a fantastic example of partnership working which has provided a unique and positive experience to local children and young people. It has been great to see the participants build their cycling during the sessions and we hope to see them continue to enjoy using their bikes for physical activity and active travel on an ongoing basis. Thank you to all who contributed to delivering the project at Grampian Transport Museum.”

DTCC will continue to support any pupils that want to progress and develop their cycling skills. The club meet every Saturday during the school term at Knockburn Loch, Strachan between 10am and 11am.

Anyone interested in joining the club should contact [email protected]

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