Mountain Biking: Why We Ride
Membership of Bede's Mountain Biking activity is booming and, as far as Mr Jackson is concerned, the more the merrier.
With up to ten pupils riding out twice a week with staff including Mrs Sparkes, Mr Tebary-Peterson, Mr Wickens and Mr Jackson invariably returning to Bede’s caked in mud with smiles on their faces, it’s clear that there’s something special about the activity.
“I think part of the appeal is that we welcome all abilities, from beginners to experts,” explains Mr Jackson. “Plus, we supply all the equipment, maintain it at school and do our best to make each ride as exciting as possible. Then, of course, you can't underestimate the effect of passion the staff all have for it. It is absolutely my hobby of choice, for example.”
Since discovering a passion for Mountain Biking, Mr Jackson has taken a number of qualifications and is known to disappear for a week at a time during the holidays, pedalling up mountains in Wales or embarking on long rides including the South Downs Way, London to Brighton or most recently the C2C Cycleway in the Lake District.
“I have been doing Mountain Biking since I was a First Year and have loved every minute,” says Upper Sixth student Harry T Wilson. “Mr Jackson has really helped me develop my technique, skills and fitness levels, and the activity in general gives me time to clear my head from the busy schedule of school life. I am now considering entering my first enduro race!”
With an average ride in Friston Forest taking in around 6-8 kilometres and involving at least two climbs and two sections of single-track, part of the fun is learning and finding new routes – all of which have evocative names like “Stumpy”, “The Final Descent” and “Doris and Bert.”
“Friston Forest is very popular with local riders and the routes have a range of obstacles including berms, table-tops and jumps,” Mr Jackson explains.
“This is my third year on the Mountain Biking activity,” adds Dicker House’s Archie Taylor, “and it has helped me develop my confidence a great deal, as well as my strength and stamina. Our group of riders get on well, and we have a lot of fun whilst being challenged at the same time.
“I really recommend other students give it a try. It’s brilliant fun.”