Connect Champion of the Month

Connect Champion of the month is a new feature to highlight people who work, volunteer and take part in active travel.

January’s Campion of the month has been awarded to Kev Riddehough of the Blackburn-based family activity group the Young Weaver’s

Here’s Kev’s story:

Hi, I’m Kev, a dead keen cyclist. Cycling to work, shops, and anywhere else that I fancy. I’ve been cycling now for around 30 years and have seen cycling grow, but never more so than in the last 10 years. With all the recent success surrounding British Cycling it now seems everyone wants to become involved.

Why we started The Young Weavers

9 years ago when our Daughter Summer was born I had already begun encouraging my wife Victoria to cycle more. We began to look at the options of making more of our journeys by bike a reality. Within a year we had become an avid cycling family. Looking around for clubs to join with similar aged younger riders proved to be a bit of a problem so after much searching we decided 7 years ago to set up our own club. For the next three years we cycled regularly with a group of friends which eventually led us to set up the Bus Stop Bikers cycling group. With help and assistance from BwD Connect, British Cycling and placing every ride I led on Skyrides website it quickly became a great club to ride with. Sadly for us we never managed to achieve our goal of attracting families with younger children out to ride with us.

During mid 2014 Victoria and myself had discussed what we both felt was needed to encourage families out to join in this cycling revolution taking place around us. We came up with the idea of forming a second club, The Young Weavers. The main difference here was to encourage families to join in our activities but we planned to offer a wider scope of activities. Cycling still remained high on our list, not just stick to cycling. We began forming the club and planned a variety of led bike rides, walks, craft events and many more family friendly activities to run every weekend throughout the year. Into our second year now things are looking as good as we could have hoped for.

How does it feel to be nominated for this accolade?

When I was told about being nominated for the Connect Champion of the month I was absolutely elated and proud. I’ve taken a great amount of personal pleasure in encouraging people to get out on their bikes, both returning riders after lengthy lay offs or riders totally new to it. It’s a tremendous feeling seeing somebody join you with no confidence of road riding at all, and within a few short rides begin to relax and get the pleasure that riding in a group gives. To be recognised and nominated for this is a real honour for me.

Who else is involved

Encouraging people to take up cycling either for the first time or return to it has been a long slow process. I could never have achieved these results without the support from Victoria. Her enthusiasm in many areas now equals or even surpasses mine. We bot actually get pleasure in meeting new riders and seeing them develop their skills. Along with this we now have a great committee team who share our vision of encouraging families and individuals to come along, become more active and join in with us, be it walks, cycling or any other activity we have planned. Without the committee we couldn’t achieve half of what we’ve managed to achieve over the last 18 months. It would also be rude if we didn’t mention the huge input we’ve had from both BwD and the Connect team. Without their continued support and belief in what we’re aiming to achieve we wouldn’t be in the position we’re now in. They work tirelessly behind the scenes with various bodies in making a difference in our borough. From all of us at the Young Weavers, thanks very much for everything.

What do you enjoy most about what you do

Easy one this…

  • Seeing new or returning riders discover the joys and freedom of cycling
  • Riding what’s now becoming familiar favourite rides that are now being requested as a re-run
  • Showing families and individuals places they would never explore themselves
  • Meeting new people with a similar interest of getting more active together as a family
  • Inspiring younger children to want to explore and do more
  • The planning side of the organised activities and the involvement of the committee in leading activities they have organised themselves

What’s been your best moment

Over the years I’ve had many great times that I could recall and the vast majority are all family based.

In cycling for me, the best moment was when our daughter won her 1st Green Jersey for sprinting in her cycling club. A very proud moment indeed watching Summer put in a tremendous effort all season to be the fastest girl in her classification.

What would you say to encourage other people to get involved in cycling?

Over the years and through all of the cycling we’ve done we have adopted an ethos that we’ve stuck to rigidly. We firmly believe in encouraging people to join us not on a one off, but on a regular basis. We achieve this by riding as a group. We always ride at the pace of the slower riders without making them feel uneasy about being slower. I’ve always done this by leading a ride from the rear and riding at the back with the back markers. Encouragement is given and the more experienced riders tend to ride on the outside giving a feeling of protection to the less experienced or nervous riders. So I’d simply say if you’re unsure at all, come along and give us a try. Many other riders have already done so and rediscovered the pleasure, freedom and sheer thrill that we got riding bikes in our younger days. Anyone can ride a bike, and it doesn’t matter if we ride for 1 mile 21 miles or 101 miles, what does matter is we enjoy cycling and the fun it gives us.

Is there anything new you want to promote?

 

Last year Victoria and Aileen both embarked on a weekly Ladies only evening ride program. They alternated between Blackburn & Haslingden and each ride was between 10 & 20 miles maximum. This year they have both decided to open the rides up to any adult wishing to join them. They will continue on the same vein as last year with distance and alternating start points, the main difference this year is these rides will now be linked to The Young Weavers club. All will be led rides and covered by our club insurance. The main aim of these is to provide a platform for riders who may not be as confident on the longer weekend rides and wish to use these to build through the spring months to a longer ride come the summer months.

The first of these rides will be on Thursday March 17th starting from the Cycle Centre at Witton Park and will be going out via Riley Green and Top Lock, returning via the canal to Witton Park. A ride will then take place every Thursday evening through to late Autumn.

So, offering led adult only bike rides, family bike rides, walks, crafts, day trips and just general good family involvement is what we as a club have to offer, come along and join us…

                you never know you may just end up having fun

Young WeaversKev1

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