In 2016, sixteen of our Year 11 students were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take to the roads of London to complete the iconic RideLondon event, alongside 10,000 other members of the public.
As part of the PruGoals programme, our students were each provided custom-made road bikes worth over £500 and other cycling equipment, which they were allowed to keep on completion of the event.
Our journey on the PruGoals programme began at the beginning of the year at the Lee Valley VeloPark at the Olympic village, which had been the venue for the wonderful successes of the British cycling team at the London Olympics in 2012. Here we joined Nicola Adams – a double Olympic gold medallist in Boxing – who would be the inspirational figurehead for the programme over the course of the year.
Charlie Cooper is one of our students who took part in the PruGoals programme. Himself a boxer, Charlie was excited that he would be training alongside one of his inspirations in the sport: “Nicola Adams is such an inspiration, coming from a similar background to us and going on to hit the heights. So for her to take part in this alongside us is very inspirational – if she can do it, then why can’t we?!”
None of our students had ever cycled 46 miles before and completing the programme was a daunting prospect that was rightly making us all nervous. However, our students were hugely committed to improving their stamina, fitness and bike skills. We met for our regular training sessions around the streets of New Addington each Saturday morning bright and early at 07.45 and we each improved week by week.
By July 2017 we were ready to attempt the huge challenge of cycling for 46 miles. Leaving school together on the Saturday of the Ride weekend, the excitement and tension were both evident. We spent that evening in the university accommodation at Queen Mary University of London, an experience that our students really valued. We woke early the next morning and made our way to the start line and, after a hearty breakfast, we set off hot on Nicola’s wheels. The next four hours and 46 gruelling miles were a real challenge, but one that our students rose to magnificently. As we rode down the final few metres on The Mall and in the shadow of Buckingham Palace, the sense of achievement was overwhelming and we were all rightly proud of our achievements.
The teachers involved (Miss Hedderman, Mr Hodgson, Miss Donohue and Mr Giles) would like to thank our PruGOals Year 11s for showing wonderful commitment to the programme and for making it such an enjoyable experience.
We are very much looking forward to completing the programme with 13 new Year 11s again this year.