Parkwood Leisure gears up for success with launch of new cycling brand

Parkwood Leisure gears up for success with launch of new cycling brand

Change Gear, Parkwood Leisure’s new cycling brand was launched in November 2014.

In December 2014, Tom Mutton was appointed as National Cycling Manager. Tom comes with a wealth of experience in the cycling industry. He spent the last two years working in partnership with Leeds City Council for the Sustainable Transport Charity; Sustrans, promoting sustainable transport and especially cycling to schools around Leeds. Tom is a qualified British Cycling coach and mountain bike leader with years of experience in planning and leading rides.

Following the success of the first Sportive which saw over 100 participants, there will be 6 sportives throughout 2015. Change Gear : Vale takes place on Sunday 21st June. Each timed,  non-race route will be linked to an existing Parkwood Leisure centre and will range from 33 to 99 miles.

Parkwood Leisure is now working in partnership with the Forestry Commission to operate Alice Holt Cycle Centre based in Hampshire. The forest has 435,000 annual visitors and the cycle centre provides an exciting opportunity to further develop the Change Gear Brand. The centre has over 100 adults and children’s bikes available for hire. It also offers a range of other activities from children’s clubs and parties to servicing and maintenance.

Learning to ride a bike is an important life skill that Parkwood Leisure believes each child should have the opportunity to experience. As part of the Change Gear launch, Bicester Leisure Centre introduced the cycle training courses, Bikeability, for children in the local area. Bikeability is cycling proficiency for the twenty-first century. The course is delivered over three stages, with each stage earning trainees a badge and certificate to show how great they are at cycling!

Following the success at Bicester Leisure Centre, Parkwood Leisure started their first Bikeability contract in Rochdale in 2014 with the aim of over 2500 children completing the course. As a pathway to Bikeability, Parkwood Leisure launched Balanceability, the UK’s first accredited ‘learn to cycle’ programme for children aged 2 ½ to 6 years. Four leisure centres now have qualified balanceability instructors; Tudor Grange, Hengrove, Bicester and Spiceball. We plan to train more of our staff and introduce Balanceability to more of our centres over 2015.

Tom Mutton, National Cycling Manager added ‘Change Gear has really taken off across our centres and 2015 is set to be a big year for the brand.’