Lockdown Week 9, 22nd May 2020

It did feel good to get out on the road last Saturday, though I noticed that gravity has been left totally unaffected by Coronavirus and was merciless on those extra pounds. That’s the trouble with home working, the proximity to tasty snacks and always being ready for the 6.00pm cocktails.

We’re still in that limited phase of lockdown where we’re not quite sure how much it’s ok to ride, so keeping it low key, but with a good chance of getting out over the long weekend. I’ve always said that cycling plays a role in both physical and mental wellbeing; I have little experience of poor mental health, being blessed with a generally sunny disposition, but I’ll admit to having struggled at times in the last couple of weeks. As you’ll read below, this is the week to think about this. The solution, I think, is to get on a bike.

Lockdown Quiz

A reminder to sign up for the Long 4/David Watts Lockdown photo quiz. This is in support of one of our local charities, St Christopher’s Hospice. They will be having to provide staff, residents and visitors with PPE, presenting a financial challenge. Please everyone participate – it’s just £5 to enter and a great quiz.

Follow David’s quiz instructions on Facebook and make sure you get those answers in by Friday 12th June.

To this week’s guest, a person for whom my respect has no limits. I once told him that I wish he’d been my headmaster because I can’t think of anyone who wears the mantle of authority with more good humour, good sense and with such enthusiasm. He can also ride a bit and takes great pictures. Some of them when he’s not riding too.

Schools out – Dominic Bergin

The Lenin quote that there ‘are decades where weeks happen and weeks where decades happen’ has been used a lot in education in the last few months; that was certainly true of mid-March and, to a certain extent, this week.

I’ve been a Head in Tulse Hill for 6 years and I’ve been teaching in South London for 25 years and I’ve never experienced anything like those crazy few days when the country ground to a halt and the schools were at the forefront of that lockdown. We had an outward bound course out in Wales and a ski trip in Andorra and I have never been happier than when I saw those coaches pull up outside the school.

Since Lockdown, I’ve been in school most days and we’ve tended to have about 15 key worker children in (out of 1150). I’m proud to be a public servant, my staff are amazing and I am very proud of them but I’m not going to pretend that we are on the front line with the NHS staff. We have worked really hard, but so have many people. We haven’t been furloughed, we get to go to work and the journey to online learning has been a genuinely interesting one. For any parent who has successfully completed any home learning I salute you. You’ve done brilliantly. Everyone has an opinion on education, but it’s difficult to do well.

And so what now? I’ve been planning this week for Y10 and Y12 to return after half term. Planning for 300 children is almost impossible, given the criteria around social distancing. Planning for over 1000 is beyond my comprehension at the moment. However, I am of the opinion that children do need to return to school, as safely as possible. My school has a real mix of children and I know how difficult it is going to be to narrow that gap between the poor and the more well off when they return. Also, I am really aware of the enormous strains on the  mental health of all of our children. This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and I think teenagers, and particularly socially disadvantaged teenagers, have had it particularly hard. As safely as possible,  I’d like to have them back.

Every child in the school knows I love cycling and my assemblies and letters home often reflect this. As I’ve had to do virtual assemblies in the last three months I’ve tried to incorporate cycling into them. I attach my assembly about cycling and mental health if you have a spare 5 minutes.

Dominic safely riding a bike whilst taking assembly.

Indoor Cycling

Getting out on the road a little more doesn’t mean the indoor stuff goes – this is here to stay and there is even more planned for the coming weeks.

Turbobeat Live

A few remaining free sessions up to the end of May at the following times:

  • Mon  – 7.00am
  • Tues  – 5.00pm*
  • Wed  – 7.00am & 6.00pm
  • Thurs -5.00pm*
  • Fri –  7.00am

*From June all evening sessions start at 6.00pm

The morning sessions are new and offer a slightly more gentle workout than the evening sessions.

In June, Paul will start charging for these sessions and he has set up a number of Turbobeat tickets on Eventbright so you can buy into these by session, monthly etc.

Turbobeat 6-hour special – 31 May @ 9:00am

To wrap up a fantastic fundraising effort, Paul is running a special one-off 6-hour Turbothon. So far, the free sessions in April and May have raised over £3,000 for the homeless charity, Shelter. Drop in on the hour for an hour or more – or even for the whole session and help get that total funding up.

You can support Paul’s effort for Shelter on Justgiving.

Time to dig out your Penge tops for this please. Let’s say thank you to Paul for putting so much into this and for being so relentlessly positive.

Zwift Racing

You’ve seen how much enjoyment the team has got from taking part in this – you may also have noticed the staggering gains in fitness they have all benefitted from. Get on board with the next wave and if you do get a summer, you’ll be tearing it up like a pro.

Details of how to log into the Turbobeat sessions and how to join in the fun on Zwift are on the club website.

Closing Thoughts

Have a great bank holiday weekend,

James Hanscomb, Chair of Penge Cycle Club.

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