Young people in Hartlepool have been encouraged to get on their bikes with the help of a former British Cycling coach.
Adam Brooks is visiting every primary school in the town to get pupils in the saddle and teach them the benefits of riding their bike.
With over 20 years of coaching experience in both cycling and football, Adam has headed back to his hometown to get more children active in sport.
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During his two decades of coaching, he has coached with Hartlepool based Manilla Cycling and Hartlepool United’s Cente of Excellence, Adam has recently decided to set up North East Cycling Academy (NECA).
NECA is looking to nurture, evolve and demonstrate that there is a pathway to take cycling further as a sport – and Adam has local examples to prove it.
With help from the PFC Trust and Hartlepool Sport, Adam is ready to go into every primary school in the town to teach them the benefits of hopping on.
He said: “I work with individuals and some of my juniors are at a top level. I have largely achieved this outside of the town, but Hartlepool is my hometown and I want to see cycling have an impact here.
“I believe cycling appeals to different children because they can cycle in groups, it doesn’t have to be just an individual, and I want to show that to everyone.”
One of NECA’s goals is to develop talent on purpose built tracks in Hartlepool – similar to Middlesbrough’s velodrome where Adam currently coaches.
Plans are awaiting approval for an 800m cycle track in Hartlepool’s Summerhill area, with Adam hoping the plans will come to fruition before the end of the year.
In the mean time, Adam is visiting primary schools in Hartlepool and teaching pupils aged 7-11 to get on their bikes and help them become more confident whilst cycling.
Any children attending these sessions and wish to take cycling further can attend sessions with Manilla Cycling on a Saturday morning at Hartlepool College of Further Education.
Adam hopes he can inspire youngsters to take cycling further, even turn professional in some instances.
He added: “Hartlepool Sport and the PFC Trust have wanted me to do something down here to get more children and people active.
“I have pushed for a facility in Hartlepool to help this and one of the reasons I was successful in obtaining funding is so that I can go into all the schools and help the sport of cycling grow.
“Many people don’t see cycling as a sport, where you can compete at different disciplines, they often see it purely as a mode of transport. There are lots of opportunities and kids don’t recognise that.”
Carl Jorgeson, CEO of Hartlepool Sport and PFC Trust Trustee, said: “We all have such an important part to play in helping our young people to lead physically active lives, by providing opportunities and removing barriers to participation as we find them.
“Cycling is such an accessible sport to engage in, and with the support of a coach with Adam’s coaching background and experience, it has pathways through to elite level for those who wish to take it further.
“This project forms part of our wider Physical Education, School Sport and Physical Activity (PESSPA) offering to local schools and we are looking forward to announcing more projects soon.”
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