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Cross Country for Crossroads: The Hadrian’s Wall Challenge 18/06/2012

Posted by Patrick Carr in Uncategorized.
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Hadrian’s Wall provides an iconic pathway for walkers and cyclists to travel coast to coast, and it’s a challenge taken up by Crossroads Young Carers, with a little friendly competition from Bike Club.

Staff and young carers from Crossroads Care Gateshead will walk the 84 mile trail from Bowness-on-Solway to Wallsend during Carers Week, to highlight the difficulties faced by young carers, and to raise much needed funds. But the action really gets going on the 23rd June, when Bike Club Development officer Patrick Carr saddles a tandem with CTC member David Ryan for a race to the finish.

The walkers, with their five-day head start, will have reached Heddon-on-the-Wall, a mere 15 miles from the finish at Segedunum Roman Fort in Wallsend. The cyclists will start from Bowness-on-Solway and aim to cover 100 miles of the Hadrian’s Cycleway before the walkers arrive in Wallsend.

Bike Club Development Officer Patrick Carr says,

“This challenge streches the limits of both us on the tandem and the walkers, many of whom have caring responsibilities at home. We hope to provide a little bit of extra motivation for tired legs on the last day. And of course, we hope to win!”

Bike Club Officer Patrick Carr with Crossroads staff

Crossroads Young Carers offer cycling to young people who don’t usually get the chance to ride. Young people report increased confidence and independence after bike sessions. Learning to ride for the first time is a big part of what Crossroads is able to offer, thanks to Bike Club funding and support.

To follow the walkers’ progress during the week check Young Carers News on OurGateshead.org . Tandem stoker Patrick will be tweeting from the bike as @bikeclub 

If you’d like to donate text GCYC12 followed by £2 £5 or £10 to 70070

Miliband gives boost to Bike Club 26/04/2012

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MP David Miliband lent his support to the young people of SSB Bike Club in their quest to see improvements to the popular skatepark on the seafront at South Shields. Visiting the club at their base in town centre bike shop Conways Cycles, Mr Miliband met young people and chatted about their passion for BMX, which led to the formation of the club under the auspices of George Simpson, who runs Conways as a social enterprise for the benefit of local young people. Conways hosts regular events such as competition screenings, workshop nights and maintenance training with local schools, with Bike Club funding and support. SSB are also incredibly skilled riders, impressing Mr Miliband with an impromptu display of flatland skills outside the shop. (Oh, and check out their video at the bottom of this post.)

After a quick look round the shop, Mr Miliband promised to return with his kids to be fitted with their next bikes. He also asked about good local routes for families.

Outside he rode the shop’s restored Haro BMX, and though he looked confident, confessed to being worried about damaging the bike. (to be fair, I would be too, the paintwork and parts are stunning) SSB members shared their experiences of using the busy park, and the politics between the various groups of bikers, skaters and scooters who use it. An extension to the park would be welcome, and Mr. Miliband shared his thoughts of how to attract funding for its improvement.

Mr Miliband was curious about the origins of the group’s enigmatic name SSB, which stands simply for South Shields Based. “South Shields Based what?” asked the MP understandably. “South Shields Based anything.” came the reply. “Bikes, blades, boards, scooters, anything. We don’t discriminate.” Good answer. Wonder if that young person wants a job in politics?

It’s Snow Problem at Crossroads 10/02/2012

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Big, big thanks go to the hardy few young carers who braved sub-zero temperatures in pursuit of cycling confidence last weekend.

Gateshead Crossroads Young Carers had selected a small group of young people who had not yet been able to access their Bike Cub project for the session on Saturday. The young people have different caring responsibilities at home which have limited their opportunities to learn to ride a bike. In addition, some of them have reported low self confidence as another barrier to them taking up riding.

What better opportunity for me to tandem my way up there with Activity Worker Christine Archer, to share some activities and skills games designed to boost the abilities and confidence of new cyclists.

Breaking down the elements that go into riding a bike; steering, balance, pedalling and braking; makes it easier for young people to progress quickly. Some basic bike checks a quick game of musical bikes (getting on and off to music) warmed us up nicely. Then it was out to brave the cold- the mercury creeping just high enough to keep the playground ice-free.

Outside we kept busy, never standing still long enough to feel the cold. By the time  a welcome  lunch was ready we were able to progress onto some of the practical skills needed to make a local journey.

The afternoon’s highlights included a fantastic game of “Guess The Animal” where a backwards glance from a rider reveals a leader doing a convincing animal impersonation. Thanks must go in particular to John, a young carer who led the game. His animal impressions for fellow cyclists had us all laughing, especially the pursuing horse and scary gorilla!

Eventually the encroaching snow chased us all inside, where the young people managed to fix a puncture by themselves, despite never having done so before. Again great leadership was shown by John.

All in all a fantastic session at an ambitious bike club which gives young carers opportunities too easy to miss when looking out for a parent, sibling, or relative. The confidence and enthusiasm of the young people visibly increased as the session went on. The experience of trying something new and succeeding was a great boost for them.

“I can’t ride a bike.” protested one young person at the start of the session.

“No,” I corrected gently. “You can’t ride a bike… yet.”

Help! Challenge ride ideas welcome. 10/01/2012

Posted by Patrick Carr in Uncategorized.
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Recently I’ve been plotting with the fantastic Crossroads Young Carers about their summer charity fundraiser. Jill, who manages the project is a keen walker, and is planning on walking the Hadrian’s Wall Path with a small group of young carers, over 6 days.

Keen to support them and their flourishing Bike Club, I thought I could add some spice to the occasion by riding it too, an bit like a tortoise and hare race, with me and perhaps a foolish friend or two, (Gav?) starting from Bowness on Solway on day 6, just as the walkers are leaving Heddon-on-the-Wall, a mere 15 miles from the finish at Wallsend. That’s a nice round 100 miles if you follow the National Cycle Network’s route 72, the Hadrian’s Cycleway

However, I’ve uncovered a small problem with the plan. Apparently some marathon runners who are friends of the project are also considering running the whole 84 miles in a day. WOW! 3 and half marathons in a single day! That would make my efforts on a bike look rather puny. So the only solution is to ramp it up. And that’s where I need your help. If you have any suggestions to make my ride that bit more epic and noteworthy (without killing me…) then pop them in the comments below.

Folding bikes perhaps- I crossed England on mine last summer…

Or perhaps do as my brother did when we rode the route as part of a tour one time, and attempt to ride his singlespeed along the World Heritige Site itself?

Ideas please!

Bike Club Start-up Clinic. 06/12/2011

Posted by Patrick Carr in Uncategorized.
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Bike Club Start-Up Clinic 7th December, 3pm – 6pm, Newcastle Central Library.

Places are still available at tomorrow’s Bike Club Start-up clinic in Newcastle. It’s a brilliant building, as you can see, and a fantastic opportunity to turn your great ideas into reality:

  • Do you work in Newcastle/Gateshead with young people aged between 10-20?
  • Would you like support to deliver high-quality cycling and related activities?
  • Come to the clinic and we’ll help you apply for a Bike Club Grant of up to £2000.
  • Mountain Bike Trail Leader/Ride Manager qualifications available.
  • Free Youth Achivement Award registration, training place and 20 award books.
  • Bike Clubs are flexible and can be developed to meet a range of needs.

Please contact local Bike Club Development Officer Patrick Carr on patrick.carr@bikeclub.org.uk or 01914879356 to reserve your place or find out more about Bike Club support. 

Derwentside Bike Club- When Wasps Attack! 11/11/2011

Posted by Patrick Carr in Uncategorized.
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A stunning autumn morning greeted us at Whickham Thorns Activity Centre in Gateshead, where young Bike Clubbers have been gathering every Saturday for skills and speed in the mud and moguls. Today though, the pretty setting would have a sting in the tail…

Used under Creative Commons licence from http://www.flickr.com/ancawonka/

Bikes rolled in and the session began, inoccuously enough, with some bike games. Everyone, from the young people getting ready to race in the vibrant local cyclocross scene to the four-year old wobbling her way to happiness, seemed to enjoy them.

 It’s a fantastic place for all kinds of riding. There’s a BMX track, trails through the woods and some nice flat tarmac for learning to ride. As the air begins to cool at this time of year, the volunteer coaches are great at keeping everyone moving so no-one gets cold. 

So we moved on. The group split, half to a course marked out on the grass, and half to the tight trails between the trees that makes racing here so tactical and exciting. Then, the sweet song of the birds and the gentle chatter of chains was interrupted. 

“Aaargh!” “Ow!” “My head!”

The calm voice of an instuctor. “Everyone turn around. We’ve found a wasps’ nest.”

The three unfortunate young victims were resilient, brave and patient as they were treated, and were soon back on their bikes and smiling broadly once more. By the end of the session the racy types had raced, the wobbly types were a little less wobbly and we’d all had a great time. Back to base for a Bike Club banana and the obligatory photo for the blog. Good work Derwentside Cycling Club, and next time, watch out for wasps!

There are other smartphones available… 13/07/2011

Posted by Patrick Carr in Uncategorized.
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Bike Club does not endorse one brand of telephone over any other, but this has to be the lovliest little video promoting a phone sponsored bike race team ever made:  In other news, I’ve managed to send my HTC phone through the wash and it’s off being repaired right now. If you need me, try the office on 0191 4879356 or 07812949420

Almost there! 09/06/2011

Posted by Patrick Carr in Uncategorized.
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Just needs a saddle and some paint!

Popped across to Kids Kabin in the Walker area of Newcastle this week. Their fantastic mobile bike repair workshop is almost finished! The plan is to fill the box with tools and parts, and send one member of staff and two apprentices on a Cytech level two course. Then they’ll pedal out into the streets to offer free bike repairs to young people who don’t currently benefit from activities at their centre. Young volunteers at Kids Kabin will be able to pick up skills and qualifications in bike repair too.  The guys at Kids Kabin are well used to this sort of work- they already have a tricycle kitchen making pancakes on demand in the streets. Good work.

What can I do with a minute? 03/03/2011

Posted by Patrick Carr in Uncategorized.
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Quite a lot, it seems, as these young people from Nairobi demonstrate, in their winning entry to the 1 minute to save the world film competition.

A superb little film that stopped me in my tracks. They’ll receive £5000 to put their vision into practice. I’d love to work with this crowd, but I have a feeling that Kenya is slightly outside of my Newcastle and Gateshead area. If you’ve got the same passion and vision then get in touch with your local officer to see what support is available.

Bike Club takes off in Newcastle and Gateshead 29/11/2010

Posted by Patrick Carr in Asda, Gateshead, Newcastle, Press Release.
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Bike Club’s presence in Newcastle and Gateshead is to be marked by a riverside launch this Friday 3rd December, 9.30-12 at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Speaking will be Carlton Reid, cycling writer and editor of BikeBiz.com and quickrelease.tv, and Rob Fuller, CTC’s Development Director. The Bike Club project  seeks to support the development of new cycling activities for young people aged between 10 and 20, and their families.

Patrick Carr, Bike Club Development Officer for Gateshead and Newcastle says,

“Bike Club can help groups of young people who face barriers to cycling in many different ways. Not only do we have small grants of up to £2000 to start your activity, Bike Club can help you plan, get access to training and accredit your work with Youth Achievement Awards.

“Cycling can be a great way to engage young people in physical activity, and though that into learning and development in and out of school. That’s why we really value our partnerships with schools and young people’s services, and why we’re holding this launch event, to build new partnerships and bring cycling to new young people.

“At the event we will explore ways in which Bike Clubs have worked successfully, and identify how to develop ways of bringing this to Newcastle and Gateshead.”

The development of Bike Club, initially funded by the Department of Transport in England, has been brought to Gateshead and Newcastle thanks to Asda’s Pedal Power fundraising campaign.

Bike Club has been formed by a consortium of three well-established charities. UK Youth brings together youth groups, ContinYou is an organisation that promotes non-formal learning and CTC is the UK’s national cyclists’ organisation.

If you’d like to attend, please contact Patrick at patrick.carr@bikeclub.org.uk or on 07769335084 to let us know you’re coming. Your invitation is linked below.

Bike club invites (N’castle_G’head)


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