As lighter spring evenings arrive, the urge to get out more on the bike rises. But hey, there was no reason getting out on your bike had to stop for winter where it brings alive a whole new set of sensations and experiences.
So last autumn it was great to hear about a project from the Cornwall Bicycle Project CIC to introduce young riders from age 6 to 16 into the exciting world of night riding and navigation.
With winter relegating the evenings into darkness they wanted to take groups of children and teach them navigation, bike riding skills and safety at night. Coach Emma Roberts got in touch recently to let us what they were looking to achieve and know how they got on over the recent darker months.
“We were looking for a fun, new cycling experience as most of these children would have never ridden in the dark before, to keep them cycling through the winter and continue to promote friendships. Sitting alongside the other work we do at the Cornwall Bicycle Project these night ride activities have worked really well in expanding the cycling opportunities to all, especially children."
The activities took place in a number of locations, from local school grounds, cycle trails to a local bike park, all off road with experienced coaches from The Cornwall Bicycle Project CIC. With 2 qualified coaches running the sessions they could cater for 15 riders each week and to facilitate these they needed to purchase quality lights that would enable them to continue the club through the winter and into subsequent winters. An award of £250 from the Alpkit Foundation helped towards enhancing their stock of bike lights.
"These night sessions have ticked many boxes: mental, physical wellbeing, social inclusion and confidence building. We learnt about cycling in the dark, preparing for your night ride, which lights to choose and other important safety elements.”
Formed in July 2020 The Cornwall Bicycle Project CIC puts profits from the activities they run back into the project, providing cycling equipment and cycling opportunities to all, with a particular focus on reaching those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
This has a big impact on young people in the St Austell area, where they’ve also been working with their local Youth Project at the House in St Austell local Youth Social prescribing, schools identifying children on FSM and Wild Wonder and wisdom CIC. So as we now start to look forward to lighter, warmer spring evenings the the success of the night riding clubs should hopefully have a continued positivity for the year ahead.
“We’ve definitely seen more people accessing cycling over the winter, with these rides being really popular with between 11 and 17 riders every week. We were also able to work with another CIC to deliver night rides for girls through YPC at The House and we lent bikes, helmets and lights to children that would otherwise have not been able to access the rides that were identified through schools and The House. The kids loved it and parents thought it was a great opportunity for the kids to experience cycling all-year round.”
For more information on the work they do, check out the Cornwall Bicycle Project