While most junior schools are happy to get a climbing frame or, perhaps, an infant-size football pitch, a school in London has gone one better and built its very own cycle circuit in the school grounds.
The purpose built outdoor track at Field End Junior School was officially opened by David Rowe from Transport for London who said afterwards: “It’s a fantastic set-up. We usually work with schools that deliver cycle parking or cycle training but to see something like this is absolutely fantastic. You can see what it means to the children and to their parents in terms of encouraging more cycling. It’s great to see and the more we see the better.”
The smooth tarmac circuit which is four metres wide and measures 340 metres in circumference was actually completed several months ago and is the first part of a four phase project for this progressive school which has been greatly assisted by parents and members of the local cycling community.
The circuit at the school, in the London Borough of Hillingdon, has already been used for inter-schools events but there are plans for it to be enjoyed by the wider community. For this to happen, however, the venue needs to be encircled with security fencing to enable it to become self contained. It is then hoped that phase 3 (a pavilion) and phase 4 (workshop and classroom) can be completed to provide a self sufficient Centre of Excellence for junior cycling to serve the north of the borough of Hillingdon.
Choosing a bike for the circuit
The flat, fast circuit, is certainly popular with pupils at the school as eleven year old Jem Ives, who has plans to ride Le Tour, confirmed: “I think it’s great and it provides a lot of fun for us. It’s better than having another football pitch.”
Ten year old Harriet Mellor sees the circuit as a springboard for the future: “I think it’s good because I go to the Hillingdon Slipstreamers and I’ve got a racing bike so I want to race when I’m older, like in the Olympics.”
Rob Mortlock the Go Ride coach for West London at sign in
The visionary plans of the school have their roots back in 2007 when its Fun Cycle Club was launched with the original aim of encouraging the children to ride to school in a safe manner. Today the coaching side is overseen by qualified British Cycling coach Brian Wright who is also president of Hillingdon Slipstreamers (the youth cycling club for West London).
Maintenance classes in the workshop
At a school that could, perhaps, lead the way to putting cycling on the national curriculum it is not only safer cycling techniques that are taught and the pupils can also take a six week cycle maintenance course. In fact, such is the popularity of the after school Fun Cycle Club that there is a waiting list to join.