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10 and 11-year-olds from Northumberland head to Italy

Is this the ultimate primary school trip for youngsters who are into cycling? Not a museum, nor a zoo, but the Dolomites in north east Italy where a group of 10 and 11-year-olds from a school in Northumberland will next week tackle some of the same roads as the Giro d’Italia.

They will be accompanied on the week-long trip by some of their teachers at Morpeth Road Primary School in Blyth, as well as staff from Newcastle bike shop M Steel Cycles, which supplies bikes to the school and has helped to arrange the trip, reports Chroniclelive.co.uk.

The school has placed a strong emphasis on cycling for the past three years, and head teacher Mike Bell said the trip to Italy, during which the youngsters will ride up to 30 miles a day, will help them develop essential skills.

He said: “This trip away is a life skill and it incorporates everything you look for in developing young people. It gives them self belief, self-esteem and it gives them confidence.

“We’ve been encouraging our pupils to cycle as part of the school curriculum for a number of years now and it’s having a very positive effect on their overall academic achievements.

“We carried out case studies which showed that our children’s academic attainment had gone up since introducing cycling, but it’s also improved a lot of the children’s social skills as well.

“One of the boys coming on the Italy trip says his ambition is to ride in the Tour de France - that’s a huge shift from every lad and his mate wanting to play for Newcastle United.”

David Buchan, facilities manager at M Steel Cycles, added: “We started supplying the school with bikes and the relationship has just grown from there.

“Some of the places we’ve taken the kids on their bikes includes the Cheviots, the Coast to Coast and now holidays abroad. It’s just a fantastic opportunity to show the kids what’s out there and how other nations embrace cycling.

“It’s not just about the bike riding, it’s about the education as well. They’re going to learn a lot from the trip itself and soak up a great deal of culture.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

16 comments

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notfastenough [3717 posts] 2 years ago
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If my school had been like that, I might have paid a bit more attention...

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ajmarshal1 [417 posts] 2 years ago
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Dave Buchan and M Steel Cycles. Absolutely top bloke and superb bike shop. Always doing stuff in the community and supporting charities. Seriously lucky to have that in my locality.

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Condor Andy [272 posts] 2 years ago
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Not even remotely jealous.......lucky b*******  3

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isbfan [2 posts] 2 years ago
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Well done M Steel cycles, a wonderful thing to do.

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gussieboy [9 posts] 2 years ago
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Great story and big up to The children and also Steel's who have been very kind to me with their air this week. Thank you.

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joemmo [1164 posts] 2 years ago
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Good for the school and for Steels, one of the few independent 'proper' bike shops on Tyneside.

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Rupert [191 posts] 2 years ago
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You know one day all cycle shops will be the heart of the community.
This is only the start.
Well done M STEEL CYCLES for continuing the trend !

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ridgers [4 posts] 2 years ago
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Well done M Steel, bought my first mountain bike from them years ago and still a great shop it seems.

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portec [116 posts] 2 years ago
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Great idea (conceptually, at least). I would have chosen somewhere other than the Dolomites though. When I was there it was like cycling around Brands Hatch during a superbike race.

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usedtobefaster [188 posts] 2 years ago
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Brilliant, what a forward thinking school, but I'm glad I'm not doing the risk assessment !! Well done to M Steel for supporting this and the school.

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ajmarshal1 [417 posts] 2 years ago
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THIS is why I buy local. There's far more to shopping for your cycling stuff than cheap online deals.

portec wrote:

Great idea (conceptually, at least). I would have chosen somewhere other than the Dolomites though. When I was there it was like cycling around Brands Hatch during a superbike race.

The guy leading it knows Italy and cycling inside out, I'd wager he knows exactly what he's doing.

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bfslxo [144 posts] 2 years ago
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30 miles a day in the Italian Dolomites, huh hardly worth their while going in fact if one of the teachers can't be bothered to turn up for that just contact me i'll take their place, i know, i understand, 30 miles is it worth the effort of even getting out of bed, take the week off your class is away anyway i'll take the effort on, you stay at home & enjoy the quiet time  3

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arfa [841 posts] 2 years ago
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Youngsters getting out there, having a bit of an adventure, just fantastic. This story made my day - more of this please

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Pub bike [188 posts] 2 years ago
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Dolomites=Awesome. Maybe nip across and do the Stelvio during lunch break on one of the lighter days?

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notfastenough [3717 posts] 2 years ago
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Pub bike wrote:

Dolomites=Awesome. Maybe nip across and do the Stelvio during lunch break on one of the lighter days?

That'd be the trick, wouldn't it? How to get a bit of time for a blast when the kids are otherwise occupied.

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Michael Halliday [3 posts] 2 years ago
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Fantastic story. I've been a visitor to Morpeth Road several times teaching Bikeability and Mike Bell is a top bloke. He has a fantastic relationship with the children, has encouraged staff to take up cycling and encourages visitors to become as much a part of school life as possible.
To say I'm jealous is an understatement. The furthest I ever got from school at that age were local day trips. A little older I manages some walking in the Cheviots and Lake District but never anything on the scale that these children benefit from.
Hope they have a fantastic time and continue their love of cycling as they develop and mature.
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