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29 October 2014
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BMX in mid air

On the right track

Annie Martin
Teenagers prove that if you want something badly enough, you've got to make a stand.


The group of 14 and 15 year olds from Aldbourne are so desperate for somewhere to play on their BMX bikes that they've challenged the Parish council to build them a track...and their persistence could be paying off.

The youngsters were frustrated because they are too old to play in the parks and there wasn't anywhere else to go. So where could they ride?! Well, they took their own initiative and made themselves some mini dirt jumps in a field. Perfect...apart from the fact that the Parish Council didn't approve, so these had to go as well!

Row of bikers

But they didn't give up. Many of the bikers were also members of the village youth club and advice from one of the leaders seems to have been a turning point, as Hazel Keen explains. "I just said they needed to stand together and try and do something about it. But ask questions as to why there wasn't anything in the village. They needed to come up with solutions about what they could do and what they want." 

Now it's not everyday that you see a group of 14 year olds in council meetings, but parked outside were their skateboards and BMX's while inside they put their case forward. As 15 year old Chris Wyatt explains, this was really daunting. "The Council were big and scary people and I was first person to speak to them and I forgot my words!"

Wheelie on BMX - courtesy of Jo Hitchins
Chris Wyatt

Chris can't have done a bad job though because Councillor Andy Devey showed interest and went along to several meetings to talk with the teenagers and as he explains, it was hard to ignore their request. "The BMX track is something that the youth have come up with themselves and have actually done all of the ground work. If anything, I think they've been pushing the Parish Council along. We need to do something."

Now after lots of researching things are moving on and plans are now being put in place for a track. A piece of land on the outskirts of the village has been sidelined for the circuit and the teenagers are very excited! Chris said, "we're feeling really positive because the bloke who does the jumps has come to have a look at our site and it'll hopefully be done soon if the council approve."

BMX bikes in a field
The plans are discussed

The man he is talking about is Steve Jenks who designs and builds tracks all over the Country. He helped mark out a piece of the field that would be suitable and showed the youngsters his plans which included hills, double jumps and berms!?

It certainly looks very impressive on paper but there is one small thing in the teenagers way and that's funding! They need to raise £7,500 but this hasn't dampened their enthusiasm. Many sponsored events are planned including, as you might expect, bikes rides. 

So the coming months will be busy ones but with the Olympics adding BMX riding as a sport in the 2008 games, they are hoping for as much support as possible.

Listen to my interview with the teenagers themselves
audio Hear my interview with the teenagers in the park >
Audio and Video links on this page require Realplayer

last updated: 29/04/06
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