Oh the joys of spring…. putting all those winter clothes away after the worst of the cold weather, only to find yourself hunting them out again at the end of April.
The two coaches on Sunday were Paul Wright and myself.
I had the younger group while Paul had the flying saucers (see below in bold for Paul's report).
Alistair Canning was pilot for a trip round the world, off they went and the youngsters first touched down in Australia, looking out for Kangaroos (as I had suggested) but Cooper Lang grumbled that he never saw any and perhaps it wasn’t Australia after all.
Round the back of the school then (Egypt to the imaginative that is) and onto narrow paths and finally across a strip of grass in order to get from one path to the other…. Cooper got upended by an angry kangaroo but happily salvaged his bike before the animal ran off with it.
The spring growth on the archway of saplings lured us into the bushes, rider picking either to enter by way of the fat or thin entrance… I got called to task for using those words ‘why don’t you say wide or narrow?’ asked one future journalist, or should that be English teacher… time will tell.
Back on the tarmac, we did several skills exercises…. one being where riders had to pick to ride along a straight path between cones, chose between wide or narrow …. and chose one-handed or two-handed.
Go to our Facebook page and see the live action.... a 60sec video clip.
We finished with a race, or that was the plan.
It was a handicap race and Catherine Eccles won…. and she celebrated by stopping dead on the finish line…. whereupon Hugh Canning, the following rider, came clattering into her.
She was in tears.
But remarkably the question ‘do you want another race?’ triggered a nodding of her head.
So they had another race….. and that should have been game over except that they all then wanted yet another race.
So they had another race.... a third one.
Then we all went home.
Except a Camelbak drinking bottle that is….. it got left behind - belong to anyone?
Report from Paul Wright.
I took the older group with the aim to go through about gearing. Therefore we started with going through gears, getting the children to work out which gear they were in, how many gears they had etc. Onto their bikes, the children initially went round in pairs, and a 3 in initially their lowest gear, their highest gear, a middle gear, and finally a gear of their choice. After they tried out each gear selection they were asked to feedback how it felt. The lower/ easier gear was easy to start but you did not go very fast. One of the children said that his legs were spinning very fast but he was not going fast at all. The highest/ hardest gear was very hard to start, but once they had started it was easier, and you could go faster. When they were asked to select a gear of choice, most choose a middle to slightly higher gear.
The next part was racing, but races that were only 15m in length. The aim being to focus on the start, or how could you start as quickly as possible. Therefore we talked about the correct gear selection (a gear that was too high/ hard would guarantee defeat), ensuring that the cranks were in the right position (parallel with the down tube). We also talked about standing up on the pedals. Some people asked to be held by their colleagues which led to some underhand not releasing the bike.
There was general similarity amongst the children, although James was consistently faster than most but then came unstuck against Annabel’s big brother. To be fair he led for the first half of the race but then the increased power, bigger wheel size overhauled him.
We finished off with some slow races. The rules were you could not let your feet touch the floor and you had to go in a straight line. If you were able to track stand for 30 seconds then that was fine, although you ran the risk of putting your feet onto the ground. It is a real test of bike handling, balance and is very difficult, although Luca particularly excelled.
We finished off with races. In the first race James managed to keep Aston at bay, although Aston never lost sight of James. In the second race, after Alastair took a corner far too sharp and came off his bike, it came down to a very close race between Daniel and Joseph. Daniel initially led but then went a bit too wide and Joseph took the racing line from him. Joseph then held him off to the finish.
Well done to all.