Varndean Girls’ Bike Club was set up in April 2021 with the aim of creating a supportive and fun environment for girls to ride bikes. A judgement-free space for them to build confidence on the bike, learn new skills, meet new friends and explore new places by bike.
This Girl Can Sussex Ambassador, Tess Agnew, was the lead bike trainer for the club. She kept the sessions loosely structured and let the participants have their say in what they wanted to do. They started every session with a bike check and warm up around the basketball court – the girls seemed to enjoy this consistent start each week.
The group practised skills such as one-handed riding, riding up kerbs, slow race, fast race, gear practice, bunny hops, track stands, standing up on the bike, cornering etc. and lots of riding the hills.
The participants in the group had mixed abilities – some were very confident and had their own bikes, others were complete beginners, and the majority somewhere in the middle. The club tailored the activities for each level to give everyone something to work on, and give the more confident girls opportunities to help lead the sessions by suggesting routes and demoing skills.
For the few girls who joined the club unable to ride, they tried to work with them individually to help them.
It’s been an absolute joy to run this club, and see the girls’ progress and confidence grow, both on and off the bikes. We’ve built a really friendly and supportive environment where the girls can feel able to try new things and help each other learn. It’s also been the most fun ‘job’ I’ve ever had and it lights me up every single week, especially when I hear shouts of ‘I love bike club!’ as we ride around the school. 🙂 I wish I had clubs like this when I was a teenager!
-Tess Agnew, Lead Bike Trainer