Richmond schoolkids race against mountain bike champ Jody Crawforth

Orleans Park school at Herne Hill cycle track

photo A pupil from Orleans Park School, Twickenham, tries out the Herne Hill off-road course

Thanks to the LCC local group in the borough of Richmond pupils from Orleans Park School, Twickenham, cycling club raced against professional mountain biker Jody Crawforth at Herne Hill.

Richmond LCC co-ordinator Jonathan Rowland, who helps run the Transport for London funded cycling project at Orleans Park School, heard the BBC were looking for participants to for a feature on cyclo-cross at Herne Hill track.

Working with project leader Margaret Ansell, Rowland arranged for children from the school's Go Ride Club to help out on the day.

Rowland said, "Everyone was provided with a bike to take round the track and given expert tips and advice on track cycling before pitching their skills against the National Cycle Cross Champion.

Success for the LCC-administered project
"It was a fantastic opportunity for the kids. They signed up for the cycle project at school, and here they are just a few weeks later riding at one of the most famous cycling locations in Britain and meeting National Champ Jody Crawforth."

"We’re getting a steady stream of students coming along to our maintenance workshops to learn how to look after their bikes. It’s great for them to do something like this and put what they’ve learned in the workshop into practice."

Thirteen-year-old Ben, a regular at the club, was full of praise for the event: "I’m a cycling fan but I’m just getting started. This is really good fun and it's great seeing other people riding and to be able to watch how they do it and have a go. And it’s on a proper course too, not just around cones."

Herne Hill and the cycle cross track

Herne Hill Velodrome, the last remaining venue of the 1948 London Olympics, is best known for track cycling. However, the centre now includes an off-road track built on adjoining waste ground, which is used as a regular cyclo-cross and mountain bike venue.

Cyclo-cross riders use bikes that look similar to road bikes to negotiate difficult off-road terrain.