Saturday 11 August saw the Olympic Cross Country Mountain Bike race shown on the Big Screen in Swindon town centre. The BBC Live Site had displayed all 16 days of the Olympic Games, and when they asked me if I wanted to make “a thing” of mountain biking, of course I jumped at the chance.
Anna Cipullo takes on the 500m challenge

On the screen, the ladies of all nations battled it out for Olympic podiums, while on the ground local clubs battle for pride (and a modest medal) in the Watt Bike races.

This, together with the Games on screen, inspired many members of the public to get competitive and try their best to beat the times set out by local clubs. I was one of those attempting to get a good time in the 500 metres sprint, but as you can see from the photo, all I achieved was complete exhaustion and some legs made of jelly.

A queue of kids lined up to ride our bikes on the portable mountain bike obstacle course, kindly supplied by our CTC Cycle Champion in Reading, Javed, with local club, MBSwindon, as their guide and skills coach.

If just one of those kids is inspired to take up mountain biking as a sport, or nag their parents to take them out for a jaunt in the countryside, then I deem the day to be a success.

Big thanks go out to Smarter Travel Choices, a Swindon Borough Council transport initiative, for giving out useful information on cycling to work as well as putting in a team for the Watt Bike race.

Also thanks to Change4Life and Swindon Borough leisure services for providing health information and novice activities, together with hosting a four-hour Wii marathon. And last, but not least, RoughRiderz for coming all the way from the Lake District to show off their four-wheeled mountain bikes.