Guest blog courtesy of Emma Young, Leeds Girls Can Ambassador. Photo credit: Kirsty Midgley.
On a sunny Sunday lunchtime myself, husband and two boys aged 5 and 2 turned up at the newly opened Brownlee Centre on the former Bodington Fields off the A660 Otley Road in North Leeds for the first ever British Cycling’s Let’s Ride free pop-up event.
When we arrived it was lovely to see a real mix of people of all ages from our 2 year old on his balance bike to a retired lady who had apparently brought along her family. We were welcomed by a lovely team of local ride leaders and Breeze champions who gave us a couple of simple rules about riding on the track.
We set off around the 1 mile long track – it was great not having to worry about cars, although I was a bit concerned about our 2 year old on his balance bike taking somebody out! Next time I think we will put him on a bike seat on the back of dad’s bike like another parent had. After a couple of laps our 5 year old was confident enough to ride round without mum and dad following.
There were a number of volunteers cycling around to ensure safety for all cyclists as well as some British Cycling Go-Ride coaches to help improve your cycling skills. There was an area off the main track where there was a coach offering advice in a less busy area. Although, considering there were 120 people at the event, the track never felt busy. Near the end of the session, and once a lot of people had gone, I had chance to have a blast round the track to see how quickly I could get round.
If you don’t have your own bike, or want to try something different, there is a fleet of bikes available to hire including tandems, trikes and handbikes. Unfortunately they didn’t have bikes for young children – the smallest bike was too big for my eldest who is nearly six. The Brownlee centre was open so you could use their facilities including getting hot and cold drinks. As we left we were given some British Cycling merchandise, much to the delight of our boys.
I would thoroughly recommend this for anyone, from those who have just learnt to ride, to those looking for some tips, to riders like myself, getting used to a road bike after mountain biking for many years. It is also a perfectly safe environment for children to ride round. Although it is probably best to wait until they are old enough to ride in a straight line, without veering off!
The next Let’s Ride pop- up event is Sunday 17th September from 12pm to 2pm. Alternatively you could try one of the ladies only Breeze events on a Monday from 6pm to 7pm or you can go to a pay and ride session, details of which can be found on the Leeds University website.