Westbourne Scouts learn some new skills

Westbourne Scouts learn some new skills

One of the great things about Bike Club is the variety of young people we work with and the variety of settings in which the project works...

The 16th Sheffield (Westbourne) Scouts are a fantastically enthusiastic group of young people with a great team of volunteers working really hard to provide the Scouts with opportunities to learn new skills, challenge themselves and engage in a range of different activities.

The group is now incorporating cycling into its menu of activities and has recently spent some money on bike tools and work stands. To help them make best use of this kit, nine of the Scouts, along with leader Vinnie, visited ReCycle Bikes in Heeley to spend a day learning all about bike maintenance, and here's how it went...

First up was the 'M-Check', a technique for checking the road or trail worthiness of a bike that involves a safety check of all the main working parts of a bicycle and should be performed before any riding takes place. Trainers Paul and Ash then went through the setting up of brakes; alignment of brake pads, cable adjustments and brake balancing. There was a lot to take in but the group listened intently and then diligently put these new skills in to practice on their own bikes.

A quick break for lunch followed and the conversational topic of choice was of course the merits of brie and courgette soup - a little surprising maybe for 13 year olds, but things have clearly moved on from the beans on toast days of my younger days.

The afternoon session started with the dark art of setting up gears, I paid particular attention to this because I'm terrible at it! The group first worked on the more complicated rear derailleur, setting limit screws and fine tuning cable tension until the hum of gears running like clockwork filled the workshop. The front derailleur is a simple job by comparison and the Scouts made light work of this. The last session of the day was given over to one of the most common problems - an unwanted visit from the puncture fairy! This final session, during which the group removed a tyre, replaced the faulty tube, then re-seated the tyre, will hopefully mean an end to the dreaded push home that sometimes accompanies a puncture.

Next up for the guys at Westbourne is a CTC Trail Leader Course, and three of the group's volunteers will be equipping themselves with the skills to take the group out riding on some of the great mountain biking terrain that Sheffield and the surrounding area has to offer. Scout leader Vinnie is also keen for the group to use the bikes when doing their Duke of Edinburgh's Awards.

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