PN: Tell me how you got interested in cycling.
H: I grew up in a cycling family. I learned to ride on a balance bike when I was four although I used to prefer scooting. The first time I rode a proper bike was in Castle Park, when I was six. I remember it was a red bike, and the rims were black, with white tyres. It was quite old-fashioned, with no gears, and two brakes instead of just one. Haboba got me riding, she just pushed me and let go, and off I went. I got a special bike for my eighth birthday, it was a Skoda bike with 6 gears. We’d just moved house, a few miles away from school instead of just in the next road, and we sometimes cycled to school but my little brother was only 6 then and it was a bit far for him so we couldn’t cycle very often.
PN: Have you done any Bikeability training yet?
H Yes, I did Level 1 and 2 last year, but I only passed level 1. The instructors helped me with things like cycling in a straight line, signalling, and turning at junctions. And it was the first time I had to think about my position on the road, remembering to be on the left hand side.
PN: Where do you cycle now?
Now my brother has my Skoda and I have a bigger bike we cycle to school most days. We don’t have a car, and I always prefer to cycle rather than go on the bus. So if we need to go somewhere at weekends, we cycle. I also cycle to the shop and sometimes we go out on family bike rides. In the summer we started doing The Cake Escape but only got to two cafes, hopefully we will finish it next year and get some free cake!
PN: What do you enjoy most about cycling?
H: I am not into sport but I find cycling really fun and quick. The main thing I like to do is go really fast! I got a bike computer for my birthday in September, and I like to go really fast down Hilly Fields. When it said I was going at 26mph, I felt it was more like doing 260mph! Being on a bike at that speed was just amazing. I’m into sports cars, I like speed, so when we cycle to school I like being able to see parked sports cars really close up. I often have to wait for Mum and my brother Zak to catch up, so it means I can have a good look at the cars. On our route there is a Porshe Boxster 5, various different Jaguars and I also like the1940/50’s Landrover Defenders!
PN: What is your route to school like?
It’s good and mainly on quiet roads. We ride from home on the path, then into Norman Way, and along the track between the schools and up to Lexden Road. It gets very busy through the schools and we have to look out for buses, cars and children. We cross on the zebra crossing and go through the housing estate into Hilly Fields and down the steep slope. Then along the path and through the housing estate until we get to North Station Road. When I get to school, I chain my bike up, and take my bike computer off the bike.
Going home it is hard work going up Hilly Fields but in the summer we could pick blackberries which was good!
PN: Do you cycle on your own sometimes?
H: Yes, when Zak dislocated his elbow and was in hospital with mum, I was allowed to ride to school on my own. Mum said I can ride more on my own when I have passed my level 2 Bikeability next year. I also cycle to the local shops on my own. I love cycling, it’s so much fun. Mum told me that the Syrian refugees are looking for bikes for their children, so I am going to look at my old bikes and ask mum if we can donate one, as I think everyone should be able to cycle!