Over the May half term Dirt Factory collaborated with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation (RFF) and Walkden Town Centre to deliver a free community pop-up indoor biking project. The aim was to engage young people aged between 11-25 in positive physical activities.
The project took place in a large empty retail space within Walkden Shopping Centre which provided lots of space to deliver bike activities and a great viewing arena for members of public doing their shopping.
During the 5-day project Dirt Factory engaged in total 171 young people. On average per day, 30 young people came into the space to take part. Our pump track and air bag really inspired beginners and more experienced bikers to get involved. We helped to teach young people not only how to ride the track but also how to maintain their bikes and ride them safely.
RFF consulted with all participants, parents, shopping centre staff and members of the community who came to find out more information regarding the project. We had an incredibly positive response from all participants and members of the public. Here’s what some of them had to say:
“Lucas came every day to use the facility, he’s absolutely enjoyed it and brought family members every day to watch. I think it’s a fantastic idea because at the age of 12 years old there’s nothing in Walkden to get this age group together as a community. I’ve come today and Lucas has made friends from other schools which is great and watching the older ones helping the younger ones is usually very rare to see in the world today and was great to watch. Thank you for the opportunity for the young people to experience”. Jane (parent)
“This is a fantastic idea and a brilliant use of space. I was just walking by and doing my usual shop with my son, so came over to have a look. My son is 8 and would love to see this become a permanent location. The girls working on the biking project were very helpful and very positive about the scheme.” Nicola (Member of the public)
“The project has been really fun, it’s got me out of the house and I’ve learnt to ride a bike. I’d like the space to be a bike/skateboarding park with a foam pit! A place were young people can just relax and hang out together with their friends.” Jacob (participant)
“I like that when you’re in the space everyone gets treated fairly, having a chance to ride on my bike properly on a track has been amazing. I’ve made some new friends and the space is perfect for an indoor bike track.” Kade (participant)
“The project has been really fun and has given me something to do, the guys have helped me to learn how to fix my bike, I’d like this space to be a bike/skate park. Its helps me to focus and stay out of trouble on the streets” Lucas (participant)
There is a huge need for a bike park that can be utilised for local young people and wider communities who feel that there isn’t anything available within their interests of biking, skateboarding and parkour. A bike park offers something a lot different than a skate park or bmx track. Bike tracks can be extremely versatile which opens up a wide range of activities and experiences for all ages and abilities can use and benefit from. A controlled and safe indoor environment like this currently does not exist anywhere in the UK. Our team at Dirt Factory Indoor Bike Park are on a mission to change that.
Dan Makin, Dirt Factory team member said, “We are all about creating positive places where people can learn new skills, hang out with their friends, meet other like-minded people and have fun. If we can get people active more often, young people off their devices and consoles and doing something positive, we are very happy. We are looking to replicate these experiences by opening a permanent indoor bike park in Greater Manchester.”