Youngsters brush up on their mountain bike skills at Castell Alun High School in Hope


Owen Evans

Pupils from Castell Alun High School in Hope were given mountain biking lessons during a project backed by Welsh Cycling.

Beccy Roberts, head of PE at the school, said the lesson was a great success.

She said: “The mountain biking lessons are a good opportunity for our students to engage with cycling.

“We’ve had Welsh Cycling in before and the children really engaged with it because it’s something different to the curriculum.

“We have an extra-curricular mountain bike club in Llandegla and that links in nicely with the mountain bike sessions.”

She added: “The children have to choose a team and individual sport for their BTEC or GCSE studies so the more opportunities they have the better.

“They can go on to mountain bike racing and that gives them another avenue to go down if they are committed.”

Welsh Cycling mountain bike coach Ian McLean led the session at the school.

He said: “The lesson starts with a safety briefing where we do helmet and bike checks, then they are sent off to get used to the bike.

“Then we have a confidence-building session in the circle of challenge which gets smaller and smaller.

“That helps them work on their balance, control and observation skills.

“As the circle gets smaller, riders are eliminated for putting their feet down and the last person riding wins.”

Mr McLean said the students then moved on to a close proximity exercise where they work in pairs.

He said: “One rider puts an arm on the shoulder of another rider and that helps them learn how to control the bike with one hand.

“That can be useful when you are racing and have to pick up a water bottle with one hand.

“In another exercise one rider circles another which helps with control of speed and co-ordination.

“Then the session ends with a skills section which includes cones, a limbo pole and balance planks which focuses on balance and correct gear selection.”

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