Watch as Sunderland children learn to cycle safely with launch of Places to Ride facility as part of family fun day

Children have enjoyed a fun-filled day of activities while learning how to stay safe on the roads at the launch of the Places to Ride cycling facility at Thompson Park in Southwick.

The family fun day at Thompson Park saw the launch of the new  ‘Places to Ride’ cycling facility.
The family fun day at Thompson Park saw the launch of the new ‘Places to Ride’ cycling facility.

In addition to develop their cycling proficiency on the purpose built course, children could also take part in a host of activities hosted by Active Sunderland.

Part of the Sunderland Young Peoples Bike Project, the facility provides a safe, traffic-free environment for cyclists of all ages and abilities to train and have fun whilst riding a bike.

It’s hoped the fun day will help raise both awareness and participation in the project as part of the City Council’s Swim, Bike, Run programme.

Bike Project coach Liam Semley said: “Today is about giving families a flavour of what the facility offers. So many kids miss out because they don’t have a bike or simply don’t know how to ride one.

"As well as having fun and keeping active, the sessions will provide Bike Ability training which has replaced the old cycling proficiency course. There will also be adult training sessions for those wanting to get on their bikes.”

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The launch event certainly seemed to capture the imagination of local families.

Children taking part in a range of activities at the family fun day at Thompson Park in Southwick.

Kayleigh Crann, 36, who was attending with son Theo, said: “It’s a really good event. Theo has been doing some road safety in school but it’s great to have this facility to get this extra training.”

Theo, 11, added: “I’ve had lots of fun and it’s important to stay safe on your bike.”

As part of the fun day, children could enjoy activities and games including archery, swing-ball, tug-of-war, circuit training and giant Connect 4.

There were also workshops for families to take part in on healthy lifestyles and eating.

Brothers Lucas and Oliver Butler taking part in the archery.

Active Sunderland team representative David Purvis said: “It’s fantastic to seen so many people here today having fun and being active. Today is one of a series of events being delivered across the summer."

Fellow team member Anthony Green added: “Holiday periods can be a time when there’s a risk of children being less active and spending long periods of time on computer games. Today is about utilising green spaces, helping promote healthy lifestyles and keeping children active over the summer.”

With the six weeks holiday having just started, the free event was certainly welcomed by parents.

Mark Butler, 38, said: “This has been a really good and it’s important to have events to keep children entertained over the holidays and to promote healthy life-styles.”

Son Oliver, seven, said: “Today has been lots of fun and I’ve really enjoyed the archery.”

It’s a sentiment shared by the Scott family.

Kirtsty, 36, who was with son Joseph, six, said: “It’s important to be able to keep children entertained and occupied over the holidays. It’s a fantastic event and I really like the road plan they’ve created to help children stay safe on their bikes.”

Councillor Linda Williams, Cabinet Member for Vibrant City, said: "This fun and free event was a great way to kick start the summer holidays.

“Swim, Bike, Run is all about creating opportunities for more people to take up swimming, cycling, and running on the back of some of the exciting sporting activities we've got lined up this summer.”

For information on courses email [email protected]