Cycling teachers from Leamington start Olympic legacy drive

A headteacher from Leamington and four friends are hoping to ‘inspire a generation’ to be active by cycling from Paris to London this weekend.

Richard Machin, his wife Claire and their neighbours Paul Groves, Adam Highmore-Talbot and Matthew Neal - all of whom live in the same street in Leamington - are launching a nationwide Government-funded project to encourage children to continue taking part in sport now that the Olympic Games have been and gone.

Mr Machin, who used to be head at All Saints’ Primary School in Warwick and is now at the helm at Finham Park School in Coventry, took part in a sponsored cycle across the Scottish Highlands three years ago and was motivated to get involved in London 2012.

He was then selected to be one of the national advocate teachers for last year’s Games - a role which involves leading projects to keep the Olympic legacy going in schools. The Government is investing £150 million into the venture, which Warwick and Leamington MP Chris White is also supporting.

With the motto ‘Inspire a generation’, Mr Machin and his friends are on Sunday setting off from the Arc de Triomph in Paris - where Team GB cyclist Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France last year - and planning to complete their 350-mile journey at the Houses of Parliament in London on Tuesday.

He said: “We got together at the beginning of last year and decided that we wanted to do something to keep the Olympic legacy going after the Games.

“We are doing a whole host of activities up and down the country to get young people involved in sport.

“The idea is to encourage people to give up just 30 minutes of their time per day to exercise.”

The cyclists are being supported by John Atkins Cycles in Leamington, which is broadcasting live footage of them in action on a screen so people at home can see how they are doing. The shop will then keep the screen for broadcasting videos of children who achieve a sporting success - whether it be winning a medal or riding a bike for the first time.

As well as raising awareness, the team are raising funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Leamington-based Thare Mache Education charity, which translates educational DVDs for use in developing countries.

People can follow the cyclists’ progress on Twitter @richardmachin11 and sponsor them online at

Related topics: