Riders’ miles of smiles

Mike Parkes (second left) and Phil Dowell (second right) with fellow cyclists
Mike Parkes (second left) and Phil Dowell (second right) with fellow cyclists

MEMBERS of a new cycling club set up to get more people on their bikes faced a mammoth challenge as part of a national event.

Members of the Bede & Byron Cycling Club, set up by teachers at the Peterlee-based St Bede’s Catholic Comprehensive School and Byron Sixth Form College, took part in the Sport Relief Mile at the weekend.

Riders followed a course along the new, unused, east Durham link road near Dalton Park, which is a mile-long.

Cyclists could do 12 laps, 12 miles or even 12 hours.

St Bede’s teacher Dave Jenkin, 55, and 17-year-old students Liam Huntington and Michael Marr covered more than 100 miles, all for the first time.

The riders, who were aged between 11 and 65, have raised more than £600 for Sport Relief, with the figure still growing.

Mr Jenkin said: “The event on Sunday was a great success with a steady stream of cyclists and visitors throughout the day.

“Many of the cyclists covered distances they had not tried before. At least 10 of the younger members covered well over 50 miles for the first time.

“The first cyclists were on the road at 6am and there was at least one cyclist on the road for the whole day.”

The club, which is open to everyone, was set up by Mr Jenkin and fellow St Bede’s teachers Phil Dowell and Mike Parkes.

It has been running since January and has 25 members, with the majority aged between 16 and 18.

The club started with a grant from St Bede’s parent-teacher association and has also been supported by the CoalFields Regeneration Trust.

Mr Jenkin added: “The club was started with the intention of raising the profile of cycling in the area, but also to encourage people to get fit with family and friends.

“We would like to encourage as many people as possible to join the club without any pressure to do anything other than enjoy themselves.

“We thought Sport Relief was a good cause as many of our members are young people and the aim of Sports Relief is to help young people who are less fortunate.”

As well as donating to a disabled football team in Lumley, County Durham, the group has also organised a cycling trip to Northumberland later this year for 18 young members of the club.

Mr Jenkin thanked Durham County Council for the use of the road, the Coalfields Regeneration Trust for financial support, British Cycling for supporting the event and club chairman Mr Dowell for organising the day.

For more information, visit www.bedebyroncc.com