Young New Forest cyclists win gold at ‘Inclusive Cycling Olympics’
A team of cyclists from the New Forest National Park took to the track at Olympic Park in London to compete in the ‘Inclusive Cycling Olympics’.
PEDALL New Forest Inclusive Cycling team joined other inclusive cycle users from London and the surrounding area at the event run by London-based charity Bikeworks.
The New Forest team comprised of three members from Minstead Trust, a student from Brockenhurst College and two members of Supporting Special Children and their Relatives and Friends (SCARF). The team took a total of two gold, three silver and one bronze medal.
Gregory Smith, aged 15, won a gold medal in the 2k event. He said: ‘I had such a great day. I never thought I could ride a bike and there I was at the Olympic park. Totally ace!’
Sponsored by Mace and London Legacy Development Agency, the day provided participants with the opportunity to socialise and race against other inclusive cyclists, before coming together at the end for a BBQ to reflect on the day’s success.
PEDALL provides inclusive cycling on the New Forest off road cycle network to audiences that without support would find it difficult to participate in recreational cycling due to disabilities or confidence.
The team provide the opportunity for people to get fit, spend more time outdoors and explore more of the National Park’s beautiful landscapes thanks to their fleet of specialist bikes.
Donna Neseyif, Project Manager with PEDALL said: ‘It was an amazing day and wonderful to see so many happy faces. The thrill of competing at the Olympic Park and enjoying the whole atmosphere was very special.
‘It is so rewarding to see all of the participants have so much fun and achieve things they didn’t think they could do. A big thank you to our team, many of whom came to the event with their families and to Bikeworks and their sponsors for organising a super event!’
Jim Blakemore, CEO and Founder of Bikeworks, said: ‘It was great to run the first fully inclusive cycling event in the Olympic park. We were amazed to have cyclists travel from across London and the New Forest which only proves that this kind of fun, competitive environment really will succeed. We are planning a second event in September when we expect over 100 cyclists to take part.’
Tom French, Project Director from Mace, said: ‘We were very proud to be able to support this fantastic event and help encourage people that would not otherwise be able to participate in physical activity and get active. Mace has been involved in the Queen Elizabeth Park since the beginning, and this is precisely the sort of legacy that we hoped the London 2012 Games would deliver. Thank you to all the cyclists that took part and congratulations to the winners.’
PEDALL is funded by the National Lottery from the Big Lottery Fund allowing the team to run an expanded range of sessions for young people with disabilities and families over the next three years.
The PEDALL team is looking for volunteers to help run inclusive cycling sessions and maintain their specialist bikes. If you are interested in finding out more and getting involved, please visit www.pedall.org.uk/help
Notes to Photo Editor:
Members of team New Forest taking part at the ‘Inclusive Cycling Olympics’.
Notes to Editor:
About the New Forest National Park Authority
Protect – Enjoy – Prosper
The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:
- Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park – Protect.
- Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.
We also have a duty to:
- Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.
The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.
Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more.
Beki Mole, Communications Assistant
New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646639