Pupils to take part in virtual downhill MTB race against world champion

Schoolchildren from across Sheffield are being challenged to compete against world champion downhill mountain bike champion Steve Peat, who hails from the city, in a virtual bike race challenge dubbed “Beat Peat” being launched today at Meynell Primary School.

Using a turbo trainer, Peat will today “ride” a half-mile course and set a time for children to beat. Between now and 1st April, pupils from schools throughout the city will have their chance to get on the turbo trainer and try to beat Peat’s time, and gauging their progress against his as they go round the course.

There are prizes on offer too, with the winning school getting a visit from Peat, the fastest boy and girl each winning a mountain bike, and products from Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative, whose new Sheffield store opens during March.

The competition is the initiative of sustainable transport charity Sustrans through its Bike It project, which aims to increase the number of children cycling to school and on other journeys, and which works with 22 schools in Sheffield in partnership with the city council.

Steve Peat said, "Its great to be involved with the Sustrans Bike it project, I have
always encouraged young people to get into this great sport so to be involved in this way is a big bonus for me. The more young people get on their bikes at an early age, the better it is in my eyes."

Henry Norman, Meynell Primary School’s Sustrans Bike It Officer added, “We’re delighted that Steve is helping us to encourage children to get on their bikes. His dedication and enthusiasm makes him an excellent role model. This is a really exciting
challenge, and lots of children are keen to see if they can get anywhere close to, or even beat, Steve’s time.”

Kate Webster, Marketing Manager for Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative, said the company was glad to be supporting the challenge.

“Supporting cycling in the communities in which we have bike shops is central to the way in which we do business,” she said. “It’s important that children are given encouragement to get out on their bikes with their friends and family and enjoy the outdoors.”

Ms Webster added, “A positive introduction to cycling at a young age is the best way to help ensure it remains a part of children’s lives as they grow up.”

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.