PUPILS got in the saddle to learn about the history of cycling.
Students from Ryhope Junior School rode bikes through the city en route to Monkwearmouth Station Museum to meet heritage cycle enthusiast Malcolm Young.
Inspired by the venue’s Racing Bikes exhibition, they learnt about bicycles through the ages from Malcolm and his wife Ruby.
Dressed in traditional Victorian costume, he enlightened them about velocipedes – the original French name for the Victorian Penny Farthing bicycle.
The students then turned their hand to making their own velocipede.
Jennie Lambert, learning officer for Sunderland Museums, said: “Today is about inspiring young people through cycling; to remind them how much fun it can be, and how in its heyday the sport of cycling was more popular than football is today.
“Thank-you to travel charity Sustrans, for showing us how to be safe and showing us how fun cycling can be.”
Sam Laing from Sustrans led the group of 12 children on the roads as they peddled to the museum.
Sustrans has been working closely with Ryhope Junior School to encourage pupils and parents to cycle, scooter and walk to school.
Sam said: “The ride took the pupils along Sustrans route 20 and 1 from Ryhope to Monkwearmouth Station Museum through the city centre.”
Malcolm Young is an ex-mining engineer from Boldon Colliery who was inspired to make his own Penny Farthing after seeing one at Monkwearmouth Station Museum. He is now an amateur cycle engineer and makes all his own bikes from scratch.
He said: “I like to encourage young people to look at history as it gives things a context.
“It’s a great way to get young people active and also to give them the opportunity to work with their hands, which is less and less these days.”
Cycle racing emerged as major spectator sport for the working classes in the 1870s and was only overtaken by football in the 1890s.
The Racing Bikes exhibition looks at the development of the sport from the introduction of the Penny Farthing racing machine to the hi-tec super bikes of the 21st century Olympic Games and runs until November 4.