By Dave Buchan - www.bike4health.org.uk
(in Volume 26)
Age 50! I still remember that conversation at school with the English teacher, a keen cyclist and member of a local cycling club. “Does any one fancy a bike ride this Sunday? We are riding to Rothbury, meet at the school gates, 8am Sunday morning”.
At the time I ran for Wallsend Harriers but cycling had started to grab my attention, short clips on World of Sport and pictures of the legend Eddy Merckx in a sporting annual.
To this day I can’t recall the exact details of the ride but what I do remember is the enormous sense of adventure and almost euphoria of being free, pedaling along in the fresh air out in the country side and that great feeling of satisfaction on return.
Whether it was a ride on the road or spin in your local park I would challenge anyone to say that first ride didn’t put a smile on his or her face.
Have we gone backwards as a nation compared to Holland and other cycling nations? Yes, in my opinion we have. Strangely, we are flying on the competitive sports side of cycling, winning medals around the globe but that basic journey or ride to see friends, to school or work isn’t naturally undertaken by bike! And it should be.
If we are to overcome these huge problems of obesity and this sedentary lifestyle where the car rules and children sit around all day on electronic devices, we have to make major changes.
Bike4Health is a Community Interest Company set up with this in mind to provide that 7-10 year old with that first adventure, get them out there show them their local routes, to demonstrate to them how easy it can be to cover 35/50 miles in a day or maybe even just a mile, encouraging them to badger their parents at the weekend to take them out cycling as a family, to say “rather than taking the car lets ride to our friends house”.
I am not a doctor or professor, I am just an average person who knows from years of experience that to be healthy we need to keep the body moving and with that comes a feel good factor. Bike4Health is about making sure people; particularly young people, are given the chance to experience the fun and challenge that comes from riding a bike. From this, we aim to teach them about their local environment that they can explore by bike, in addition to learning about health, fitness and how to stay active.
Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter and see the joy on those faces of the children we are hopefully putting on track for a lifetime by bike.