YOUNG riders are saddling up for a once in a lifetime experience as they prepare to lead the field in an international cycling event.
Children from the Cycling for All group, Richmond, have been invited to head up the opening parade for this year’s Tour de Yorkshire, on May 5.
The group, a partnership between Richmond School and Sixth Form College and Hawes-based Stage 1 Cycles, gives children, from beginners to more capable riders, the opportunity to develop their cycling proficiency skills through fun, game-led sessions.
Teacher in charge of outreach provision at Richmond School and Sixth Form College Kath Lawson said: “We initially started our bike classes to provide opportunities for students to learn to ride, or develop existing bike skills, which in turn increase both their self-confidence and self-esteem.
“The course proved so successful that we decided to extend the sessions to include all enthusiastic bike riders from primary and secondary schools in and around Richmond.
“Cycling is a wonderful hobby; you can see the feeling of freedom on the children’s faces as they learn to ride, so for them to be asked to lead the Tour de Yorkshire parade is so exciting.”
Cycling for All classes are funded through Sportivate, a £56m Lottery 2012 legacy programme promoted by the recently formed Richmondshire Inclusive Sports group.
The five one-hour sessions are tailored to meet individual needs and take place at Richmond School and Sixth Form College.
Director of Stage 1 Cycles Helen Pollard said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be taking part in such an inspiring event.
“The Tour de Yorkshire attracts some of the world’s best cyclists, including Olympic athletes, and it will be incredible for our new riders to be cycling alongside them in the parade.
“Everyone is very excited and extremely proud to be taking part in this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Mum Katie Beyer, 36, of Richmond, added: “Both of my sons, Charlie and Joe, could already ride but I thought it would be a great opportunity to bring them along to Cycle for All to join in and have fun.
“We are all thrilled that they are taking part in the parade, especially their dad, a keen cyclist, and we will be cheering them on, on the day.”
The parade starts at 12.40pm in Queen’s Street, Richmond. Bookings for summer sessions for Cycling for All are now available at firstname.lastname@example.org.