CYCLING teachers Mark Outterside and John Vyle are getting on their bikes – to help their pupils do the same.
The cycle-mad pair aim to get dozens of kids on the road to health by teaching them to ride.
They have already started one cycling club at Newburn Manor primary school, in Newcastle, and are now trying to kick-start a second at Waverley Primary.
And to raise money for the new bike club they are taking part in the region’s biggest cycle challenge.
John and Mark, both 44, are now in training for the 104-mile route of the Northern Rock Cyclone event this June.
“It’s a great event on a fantastic route and we’re really looking forward to it,” said John.
“We’ve done the 63-mile route before but this is more of a challenge, and we’re training hard.”
The pair got hooked on cycling after John encouraged his colleague Mark – a former professional footballer for Sunderland and Darlington – to sign up for the 2009 Cyclone.
“Since then, we’ve both really got into cycling,” said Mark. “We watch all the big events and we go out most weekends to train.”
And they were so inspired by their ride, they formed an after-school cycling club – the Newburn Cyclones.
John took a course with Bikeability to qualify him to deliver cycling lessons, and the club finished their year of training with a two-day ride to Hexham, Northumberland, with the children camping overnight.
“I had cycled for years but never thought about running a club until after we did the Cyclone,” said John.
“But it is fantastic. The children are really keen and I hope it will be a skill which stays with them for years to come.” Mark is now headteacher at nearby Waverley Primary School, on Newcastle’s Dumpling Hall estate, and aims to set up a cycling club at the school.
And he and John are getting back in the saddle for this year’s Northern Rock Cyclone to raise money for both school clubs.
John added: “It’ll be great for Mark to set up a club because it will give the children from Newburn Manor a bit of competition. We are looking forward to organising some races between the schools.
“The money will go towards providing kit, such as fluorescent jackets with the school logo and race vests, for the clubs.”
The Northern Rock Cyclone is a weekend-long cycling festival between June 24 and 26. It’s the biggest open road sportive in the country and this year is expected to attract up to 5,000 riders from families to professionals.
For more information or to register for the Northern Rock Cyclone Challenge visit www.northernrockcyclone.co.uk
The children are really keen and I hope it will be a skill which stays with them for years to come