22–23 Mar 2025 278 days to go! #GetOutside

Helen Pollard

I am the joint owner of an independent cycling business based in beautiful Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Other than being the dishwasher on busy days in our Cafe as Coaching Director I have the privileged opportunity to support and inspire the children, young people and families we work with to get outside on their bikes. Over the last 5 years as well as working with many of our local schools I have been involved in projects such as Cycling For All delivering to children with cognitive learning needs in special schools, Help 4 Heroes sports recovery programme and Cycling Uk Big Bike Revival.
Prior to opening our business in 2014 just as the Tour De France came past I worked with Disaffected and Looked after Children in Education focussing on alternative provision access such as Outdoor Education.
My biggest achievement in my current role is the on going development of Wensleydale Bike Club. The bike club is a British Cycling community cycling club that provides opportunities for local children and young people to develop safe cycling skills, improve fitness and experience different cycling environments. We have been self sustaining since 2014 with the club run by volunteer coaches. Over the last 2 years we have successfully expanded to support access for approx 50-60 children per week. The club hosts 3 sessions every Saturday, an afternoon session on Monday for the three local primary schools and a Ladies group. The sessions caters for all abilities. Further we have expanded our activities to include cycling away day holiday activities. We ensure that these expensive trips can be accessed by all families at subsidised rates. These trips have included 2 fantastically successful residential at Kielder Forest and Lake District supporting children accesses outdoor adventures in ways they could not do independently.
Our most recent development is becoming the only Yorkshire Bank Bike Library in the National Park allowing children participating in activities to use high quality bikes free of charge free. The bike library is essential to ensure there are no barriers to accessing our activities and we are inclusive to all families.
Future plans include development of a traffic free skills track area and BMX track allowing the local community and visitors to access free of charge the only traffic free cycling provision in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
I have also been very fortunate to work with Ordnance Survey as one of their Get Outside Champions since 2019. This has been a brilliant opportunity to inspire more people nationally to get involved in outdoor activities in their local community and beyond.