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Launch of Woodford Park Bike Hut

On a sunny Tuesday in mid February our My Journey team turned up early to set up an event for the launch of our third and newest bike hub in the borough, at Woodford Park Leisure Centre.  With our bike hut housing the new equipment for our cycling training offerings, it was a short journey with a trolley to transport all the shiny new frog bikes to the hall – bikes were all lined up and ready for action!  The plan to deliver balance bike training (for 2.5-4 year olds) and learn to ride sessions (for 5-8 year olds) separately ended up with instructors having to boldly manage both in the hall at the same time due to equal demand!... while parents patiently sat and watched (or helped their child), as was needed.  Several children improved their balance bikes skills and/or were taught to pedal by our experienced instructors during the sessions, and redundant stabilisers sent home to gather dust in the shed!

The lively atmosphere in the hall was replicated outside with our bike challenge in full swing with a queue waiting for their turn and Berkshire Safer Roads timing how far each participant cycled in 60 seconds, with the winner reaching an impressive distance.

Outside on the tennis courts Bikeability Level 1 training was being taught to more skilled young cyclists and the space was used to practice both braking and manoeuvres to aid them when ready to gain Level 2 status.

Dr Bike was equally kept busy with a stream of bikes arriving for bike checks and he worked his way merrily through all of them resulting in 28 Woodley residents taking away a much happier bike… repairs and advice were carried out, even in the face of adversity when trying to salvage the wrecks so they were at least safe to cycle home!

The smoothie bike also gained attention using pedal power and exercising leg muscles with the reward of a free healthy berry fruit smoothie at the end.  For those older children who could already cycle there was also our hi-vis rocks bingo game available to partake in, with much hunting of the brightly coloured pebbles to find the magic numbers to get a line and win a high-vis prize.

Mayor of Woodley, Councillor Sam Rahmouni kindly attended to promote the launch and watched the activities keenly and was even encouraged to mount a bike for the photos!  All in all, the launch proved a success and the weather held for the outdoor activities so we kept the leisure centre even more active than usual for the half term and many thanks to the manager for allowing us to use the communal areas for the launch promotion and activities.  Many residents were interested in the activities due to start at the centre and advice and information was given out to numerous families, along with our ever popular high-vis goodies to keep Woodley cyclists visible when out riding.

Our learn to ride sessions start in the hall on Thursday 28 February but these weekly sessions are all booked up the next 6 weeks… look out for release of new dates on the My Journey events page (booking necessary with a fee of £5 payable online).  Balance bike club starts outside on the tennis courts on after Easter on Thursday 25 April and is a free drop in session (please bring your balance bikes and helmets if you own one though we have a number available to borrow on the day).  And last, but not least, our adult cycle training sessions begins on Saturday 13 April for beginners and improvers (booking necessary with a fee of £5 payable online).

We look forward to seeing Woodley residents taking part of all our new activities from the bike hut at Woodford Park Leisure Centre and happy to receive comments or suggestions on anything cycle related you would like to see.  Our next event will be our Easter Bike Bonanza on Thursday 18 April, from 11am-3pm – look out for the poster on our My Journey website advertising all the fun and games for the family at this free event!

Feedback from the event from a happy parent

My kids loved the event and had so much fun we havn't stopped cycling since !!