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British Cycling searching for local ride leaders

British Cycling are looking for local cyclists to train as British Cycling Ride Leaders. Credit: PA

British Cycling are looking for local cyclists to train as British Cycling Ride Leaders.

As part of their new led ride programme, entrants only need to be confident in riding in a group and have a good level of cycling fitness.

Anyone interested can sign up for the Ride Leadership Award Level 1 Guided Rides Courses, which is taking place on Saturday, 3rd June at Penrith's Queen Elizabeth Grammar School.

The assessed one-day course will qualify applicants to deliver guided bike rides for groups of beginner and intermediate-level adults and accompanied children on roads and cycle paths.

D&G Council to consult public on town's walking & cycling network

Credit: D&G Council

Dumfries & Galloway council are inviting people to take part in their initiative to gain public opinion on Dumfries's travel network, including walking and cycling.

The Active Travel Strategy for Dumfries Learning Town, includes an online survey and a public consultation exhibition.

The council says it aims to engage with schools, the local community and local interest groups for feedback.

The online survey is available now until 5pm on Friday, 26th May. A public consultation exhibition will be held on Tuesday, 23rd May from 12-7pm in the Oasis Youth Centre, Newall Terrace, Dumfries.


Olympic champion inspires Cumbrian cyclists

Philip Hindes. Credit: ITV Border

Olympic Champion Philip Hindes has been raising money for the NSPCC in Cumbria.

The double gold medal-winning cyclist went along to the Watchtree Nature Reserve to meet budding young riders, and even joined them on the circuit of the track.

The event was organised to support the NSPCC, and also inspire people to take up the sport at Watchtree, which provides accessible cycling for people of all abilities.

The charity is currently bidding for £50,000 of funding to resurface one of its tracks.

You don't really get to meet the pro cyclists, and when I've met my heroes in the past it was really inspiring for me and that actually got me pursuing my professional cycling career.

So I think this kind of thing is really inspiring for children.

– Philip Hindes MBE

Work underway on £650,000 cycling track

Work in underway on the new cycling track. Credit: ITV Border

Work is underway to build a new £650,000 cycling track in Carlisle.

The one-kilometre circuit is being constructed on the site of the Harraby Community Campus.

It's aimed at people of all ages and abilities, and will be for both recreational and competitive cycling.


Work to improve A590 for cyclists

The A590 will be closed overnight Credit: PA

The A590 will be closed overnight for up to two nights next week, as work takes place to improve cyclist crossing points.

The £30,000 Highways England project will get underway at Canny Hill Junction, at Newby Bridge near Ulverston.

New signs and road markings will be provided, in part to raise driver awareness of cyclists crossing the single carriageway section of the A590.

It's part of £100 million of funding from Highways England to improve facilities and safety for cyclists over the next five years.

This is important work to improve safety along the A590 at Newby Bridge which will particularly benefit cyclists.

We’ll need to close the carriageway for a night or 2 to deliver the safety improvements and, as that involves quite a lengthy diversion, we’re advising drivers to plan their journeys and leave an extra 25 minutes or so to take the diversion.”

– Highways England project manager Peter Gee

The project is due to start on Monday (19 October) and be finished by Friday 30 October.

An overnight closure – between 8pm and 6am – will take place on Tuesday night (20 October) with a second on Thursday night (22 October) if needed.

Overnight working will also involve temporary traffic lights and a 40mph speed limit past the road works.

When the A590 is closed, a diversion – via Windermere - will operate between the Newby Bridge and Brettargh Hold roundabouts along the A592 and A591.

Cycling the UK: Day 9 Tain to John O'Groats

They made it - day nine. Credit: ITV Border

I was born in the most northern county of England to an English mother and Scottish father. I choose not to decide whether I'm Scottish or English. I'm British.

Cycling the length of Britain has given me time to reflect on what being British means. Going slower means you see more and getting out of the car means you're exposed to the whole experience.

We've seen the change in landscapes, buildings, people and accents from the waves crashing on the rocky Cornish hills, where people feel a strong national identity to their county (they'd have Cornwall an independent country if they could). The countryside is more manicured and ordered where arable farming takes over around Shropshire, contrasting with the deep tree-lined Welsh valleys.

We've seen the thatched cottages of Devon nestled in the crooks of rolling hills, seen how the buildings become redder the further North you go: from the red tiled roofs of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire to the red brick of Victorian industrial heartlands the Wirral and Liverpool. Stone creeps in around Lancashire to reveal Cumbria's stone houses in Lakeland hills as the route choices narrow with fewer (and quieter) roads.

The hills become purpler and wilder in Scotland - and Paul's favourite part of the route - beginning in the Borders but becoming even less tamed towards the end of the road in the Highlands.

The difference between the Welsh border and Scottish border with England are noticeable: in Wales you'd hear English as much as Welsh, the only difference the language that appears in harmony alongside the English words. In Scotland, there are more Scottish accents.

At Gretna our first experience was the friendship cairn, built by those wanting Scotland to stay part of Britain. Further North, the remnants of the yes campaign linger: a graffiti 'yes' sprayed on a road sign, a solitary 'aye' on a farm gate. I wonder what receptionists think when they see my Scottish name but hear my English accent: have I betrayed my Scottishness? Have I embraced my Britishness?

As we cycle uphill into a headwind blasting rain in my face, I realise our pilgrimage is ending as it began: the same weather, the same experience, in a place with the same feeling of national pride and a desire to be recognised as a land of its own. My tired legs scream that it's a long way but it's not so far that you can't make the journey with just the steam of your muscles.

Standing under the famous sign, teeth chattering as an Asian tourist takes our photo, Paul can't believe we've done it and is proud to have cycled 100 miles a day for 9 days across Britain. I'm glad to be British and although at times it's been hard and scary, I've adored seeing all 874 miles of it.

Cycling the UK day eight: Pitlochry to Tain

Day eight. Credit: ITV Border

A slow low-pitched groan emits from the road. I almost don't want to look behind. Moments earlier we'd slowed for a bike shop when Paul's disc brakes kicked in a little too quickly, spinning his back wheel out on the wet road. I heard the screech and clatter as a car passed on the opposite side of the road.

Paul lay on his back, his bike scattered next to him, the cars all stopped around as if frozen in time.

The groan was the unmistakable sound of pain but what pain? Broken bones? Just bruising? I run, clip-clop, in my bike shoes.

"Are you alright?" A woman asks, her car now parked. Paul tries to get up. "Don't get up just yet, just rest there." She's thinking the same thing I am: has he broken his back? I scan limbs for breaks or blood but find none. "Where hurts?"

"What happened?"

"You fell off your bike. What hurts?"

Paul lists the left hand side of his body as he lifts his arm. "Ah if you can do that it's not broken," I joke, deciding humour will help this situation. He has cuts and bruises but I'm fairly confident nothing is broken. We stand him up and take him to the side of the road where I set about with my first aid kit and get him to drink as two lovely ladies talk about taking him to the local GP.

Whilst this is nice of them, it concerns me. Today is our longest day. We have 120-130 miles to cycle through the hills of the Cairngorms and are on a tight schedule to make it before dark. We agree he's fine but what's more worrying is his memory loss.

"Fiona, I'm not being dramatic but...I know who I am, I'm Paul, and I know who you are but where are we? What are we doing?"

Oh God, I'd realised he was in shock but it's more than just the accident he can't remember. "Cycling Land's End to John O'Groats. You fell off your bike."

"I came off? How? Did I get you?" I explain the accident again. "Where are we going? Where did we start this morning? I don't even remember what I had for breakfast."

"You're in shock, here drink your water." I take our bikes to the bike shop and set about pumping our tyres up. "Paul, you need to buy inner tubes."

"Why, have I got a puncture?"

"No, but you got two yesterday so you have no spare ones left."

"Oh right." Paul looks confused and begins asking about the accident again. His helmet is in tact with no marks and I'm fairly sure he hasn't got concussion so I keep pressing his water bottle into his hand and getting him to drink to treat the shock.

"Is my bike ok?" And click. If Paul's worried about his bike he must be back. I can almost hear the cogs in his head clicking into gear again.

I've serviced our bikes and got us ready to get on the road when Paul complains about the pain in his ribs.

"Right we're going to the GP. It's 3 miles away in the next village. Can you cycle?" I'm concerned that if he doesn't get back on his bike soon after this accident he never will.

Paul at the GP. Credit: ITV Border

We cycle slowly on the cycle path, keeping him in my sight. At the doctors I use the 20 minute wait to go out and buy lunch and painkillers. We need to use this as our stop if we want to get to Tain before dark, which would be dangerous.

"Sorry," I say handing him a sandwich and chucking a caramel shortbread and a packet of crisps on the waiting room bench next to him, "I'm not very good at sympathy!"

The doctor has confirmed he's fine and after a while the nurse patches him up. "Right, stand next to something doctory, this is going on the blog!" we laugh.

"And I got no sympathy!" He complains as he walks out the door.

"Sympathy's for the weak. We're Land's-End-John-O-Groaters!" In truth I think sympathy wouldn't have got him back on his bike and he'd be gutted to get all the way to the Highlands to have to pull out.

He soldiers through the day, clearly in pain but telling me to push on when I ask. It's a long day and it's darker than I'd like it to be when we finish but we've made it and tomorrow is a shorter day.

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