It’s been a long while since I put together a blog post so I have all summer to cover in a few hundred words. Thankfully, stand out moments have been common owing to a number of summer events but it would be great to build upon these moments more in the coming years. I will be honest and say that I wish I had planned more for Stockton Cycling Festival and in particular the RideStockton family ride. In part this is because of one stand out moment – the result of the small group of children, staff and a parent that joined us from Tilery Primary School. After leading a cycle snake of children from the school and doing a few laps of RideStockton, we caught up with the group before they headed home. 2 of the kids had beaming faces, bags full of free goodies and the memories from the day of cycling with their friends and also catching some of the attractions on the High Street such as bands, the fancy dress book corner on Silver Street and more. The day was an inspiring advert for Stockton. But I wish we had been able to share all of it with more families.
Another great advert for Stockton is SOUP, a community crowdfunding organisation that lets charities pitch their projects to win funding. We were privileged to get a pitching opportunity in July and we secured over £200 to support our project reconditioning donated bikes and loaning them to asylum seekers. The money we won has purchased sets of tools to be stationed at the Drop-In stations in Stockton which will allow asylum seekers to make small repairs and general maintenance on their bikes. The feedback we have received from asylum seekers shows that the bike loans can be life changing, making commutes shorter and more enjoyable, while opening up opportunities further afield.
Back to stand out moments and Alastair’s pick for the summer – a full family taking to our bikes and riding round Ropner Park for the ‘Friends Of Ropner Park’s‘ Eid Fusion Festival. The Hub bike stand was stationed in the avenue of trees between the bandstand and the fountain, a safe distance from the crowds at the food tent! Eric managed to pick out the most willing cyclist from a large family group and then coaxed other members into joining our ride. We filled our first ride using the 3 adult bikes available to us. Next the young family members were upon us and they were accompanied round by their Dad. Having seen Dad brave it, Mum and Aunties teamed up to make a third and final family lap of the park.
As it turned out the family was split between Leeds and Stockton but everyone was interested in new routes with the South Stockton Greenway sounding the most appealing because they had one family member who lived in Yarm. It was just as great to see small families fit into one ride and go around the park with youngsters making the most of much needed practise off stabilisers!
I will leave you with a more recent story. Only last week a new rider came in to the Hub for a long awaited one-to-one lesson with our Bikeability instructor Brian. However things didn’t go to plan as our new rider found herself following our Thursday ‘Pedal On’ ride out of the door! Luckily our volunteers quickly realised what had happened and one of them accompanied the newbie around the Riverside, completing 6 miles on her first ride. It goes to show that 6 miles is not an impossible target even for someone lacking a little confidence on a bike. After all, she had turned up at the Hub expecting a lesson and not a full ride!
Come and speak to us if you want information about cycle rides for different abilities as well as women only rides. We can also offer you information about the Stepping Out In Stockton Health Walks.