YOUNG cyclists are making plans after their school launched its own bike club.
The new group at St Wilfrid’s RC College, South Shields, is already providing cycling opportunities for the wider community.
More than 25 pupils have joined the club, and they are planning a biking trip to Germany in June.
The club was set up after the college in Temple Park Road got £2,300 in funding from the Gateshead-based charity, Bike Club, and £1,500 from local electronics and engineering company, Siemens.
Another £2,000, received by the school from the Olympics organising committee for a separate sports festival, was earmarked for the bike club, while funding has also come from South Tyneside Council’s sports development fund.
PE teacher Helen Nuttall said the money has enabled the college to buy bikes and equipment, and also provide coaching sessions for pupils to learn about road safety and bike maintenance.
She said: “A lot of our pupils are interested in cycling, and are very excited about the new club.
“Cycling is a healthy form of exercise, and it’s also good fun. We are encouraging them to enjoy it safely.”
The club meets after college on Wednesdays, working with coaches from Simonside Youth Centre, South Tyneside Sports Development, British Cycling and representatives from the national charity Sustrans, which promotes sustainable travel.
The 13 to 16-year-olds are also being given the chance to take the young cycling volunteers course, which will qualify them to teach bike skills to children at St Wilfrid’s six feeder primary schools.
Next month, pupils from the college will take part in a 130-mile coast-to-coast bike ride from Whitehaven in Cumbria, to Sunderland.
In June, they will travel to South Tyneside’s twin town, Wuppertal, in Germany, when they will cycle 250 miles in five days.
The club has also started providing cycling sessions for adults, which already has 15 members.
Miss Nuttall added: “There islots going on at the cycle club, and the trip to our twin town is a really exciting project.
“The support I have received from our partner school in Germany has been fantastic, as well as from friends in Wuppertal.”
Adult sessions take place on Wednesdays from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.
For more information, e-mail Helen Nuttall at HNuttall@st-wilfrids.org