Nigel Mansell swaps petrol for pedals with Western Park Freeride Bike Club
Formula One World Champion Nigel Mansell and cycling legend Magnus Backstedt joined the Lord Mayor of Leicester and Liz Kendall MP, at Western Park Freeride Club to celebrate the bike club’s open day.
The cyclists made a pit stop at the club whilst undertaking The Challenge: a UK-wide initiative between Bike Club, CTC, ContinYou and UK Youth to promote the ‘Positive About Youth’ campaign to get communities excited about cycling. Nigel Mansell’s challenge was to ride 1,200 miles around the UK, in thirteen days, without a day’s rest, along with his sons, Leo and Gregg, and Magnus Backstedt, the former Tour de France racer.
The team attended major events around the country which were highlighting community youth projects, and delivering some exciting activities to inspire both the young and old to get involved, have some fun, and discover the pleasures of getting out on their bikes.
Western Freeride Park hosts regular cycling events and has had an amazing turnout since it opened. The club gained the backing of the council and cycling organisations CTC and Bike Club and is part of the A.C.E (active communities for the environment) project run by Groundwork Leicester and Leicestershire who help support and maintain the area and routes. Western Freeride Park is committed to reducing crime and anti-social behaviour in the area by involving young people in a fun sport and teaching them to look after their surroundings for everyone’s benefit.
Gavin Wood of Bike Club Leicester was really excited when asked about the guests for the event and he said, ‘It’s great to be able to showcase the hard work that has taken place at Western Park and fantastic news that we have a real formula One World Champion and Tour de France star coming along to see it firsthand. It is also an opportunity to thank the council and MPs for their support in making the Freeride Park an official venue for the young to come and enjoy. We especially want to thank Tony Maxfield, who has on many occasions been able to help us with tools and resources that would not normally be readily available to a club like ours, which has really made a difference and turned this park in to a great venue. We will be able to show them how this has really benefited the local community and youths around Western Park’.
At 56, Nigel Mansell OBE, wanted to do something momentous to support the centenary campaign ‘Positive About Youth’.
‘This is UK Youth’s centenary year and I want to do something really challenging to mark it.’ said Nigel. ‘We are one of the largest youth charities in the UK and every day we challenge young people to do all sorts of new and exciting things in order to raise their aspirations and realise their potential – so I want to do something demanding as well and in doing so encourage everyone to be more supportive of young people at a time when they are suffering more than most in the recession.’
Magnus comments, ‘This will be a true test for me as well, as I will have to not only keep up the pace for theirteen days for myself, but also monitor on my bike’s onboard computer how well the others are doing, so I can maximise the best from them and ensure we make the whole thirteen days in time’.
UK Youth is in its centenary year, and is currently working with over ¾ million young people around Britain. The current patron is HRH The Princess Royal, and HRH Prince Michael of Kent is patron of the UK Youth First Gear programme. The ‘Positive About Youth’ campaign aims to highlight that one million young people in the UK are not in education, employment or training. The aim is to show support for young people and demonstrate that they are ‘Positive About Youth’ by texting Youth to 84025.
Read more about the day on the Bike Club website.
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