Swindon is gearing up for a season of cycling – and little Finley Stanley is raring to join in the free festivities.
There are 26 guided bike rides, starting in May, as part of the Sky Ride Local initiative which aims to help people of all ages and abilities discover the joy of cycling.
Four-year-old cycling fan Finley, from West Swindon, is already looking forward to joining in the action with his two-year-old sister Tia and parents Lindsay and Phil, an engineer at Network Rail.
Lindsay, aged 34, is equally keen to get back on the saddle this spring having only recently returned to cycling – thanks to her son’s enthusiasm.
She said: “I had got out of the habit since becoming a mum, which was a shame because I used to cycle to work and really enjoyed it. We got a balance bike for Finley when he was two and a half and he took to it straight away. That inspired me to get pedalling too – Finley absolutely loves it and takes any opportunity to get out on his bike. His dad is a great example because he still cycles to work and goes on long rides at the weekend.”
Organised by Swindon Borough Council, in partnership with British Cycling and Sky, the guided Sky Ride Local rides are back for the third year and set off from venues across the Borough, ranging in distance from 3 to 30 miles.
The first Sky Ride is a three-mile ‘easy going’ opportunity, kicking off at Coate Water Country Park on Sunday 15th May at 10am.
Lindsay said: “We can’t wait because it will be our first opportunity to go on a guided ride as a whole family. Tia will go on the back and Finley will be able to ride some of the way and use his ‘follow me’ tow bar if he gets a bit tired. We’re all looking forward to it – especially Finley, who is just brilliant on his bike.”
Even more cycling opportunities are available in Swindon this year thanks to Breeze and Ride Social. Breeze is the biggest national programme designed to inspire and support more women to ride their bikes. Swindon Breeze Champion Jennifer Purcell, mum-of-two from Wroughton, will be leading a host of local weekly guided rides to get more women into cycling. Ride Social aims to bring out the more social side of cycling and help cyclists to meet up, form groups and start riding together.
Lindsay said: “I met Jennifer at a cycling event my husband was taking part in. She is really inspirational and has helped me realise how it is not only possible, but also great fun to go out riding with two small children in tow. I enjoy cycling these days more than ever – it’s a great way to make friends and stay fit. We’re also going camping with our bikes this spring, so it really has opened up a world of adventure for us all.”
David Bourque, British Cycling Director of Recreation and Partnerships, said: “There’s no better way to get outdoors, get some exercise and explore the Borough with friends than on a bike ride. Whether you’re building your confidence or looking to challenge yourself, there’s a Sky Ride Local for you in Swindon.”
Cycling is a good form of cardiovascular exercise and counts towards the recommended two and a half hours of weekly physical activity recommended for adults.
To register for a free guided bike ride go online at www.goskyride.com/swindon