This story is lovely.
About 3 weeks ago, Evelyn (my daughter) came home from school and announced that she had a piece of homework to do; some research into a topic that inspired her. The conversation went something like this.
Daddy, I’ve got to do a piece of research into something I really, really like.
That’s nice love. What are you going to do it on? <I was expecting gerbils, monster high or visiting her cousins in Yorkshire>.
Marianne Vos and cyclo-cross.
Wow…….Ok……..What do you know about Marianne Vos?
She’s the best cyclist in the world.
Ok. Yes she is. Anything else?
She’s really, really good at cyclo-cross.
Hmmm……….Not sure. She’s great though!
So, we chatted about it. It was time to do some web based research I said. Surf the cycling sites. Glean information. Then I had another idea. Why not email her?
So after contacting her via twitter, Marianne kindly agreed to answer an 8 year old’s questions. We sat at the keyboard the same evening Evelyn typed up her email. Within an hour – and whilst I was putting Evelyn to bed – Marianne had responded. Over the course of the next week, Evelyn built her first PowerPoint presentation, adding animations that interest an 8 year old and infuriate a world weary 44 year old. She gave her presentation in class and faced a barrage of questions about Marianne Vos and the sport of cyclo-cross in particular. Cycling has found a new audience.
Below I’ve cut and pasted the main body of Marianne’s responses and also included a read only version of Evelyn’s presentation. If the details serve to inspire further UK youngsters, one day we may see a GB jersey standing on top of that World champs podium; a prospect I relish. But perhaps even more importantly, if children – and in particular girls – have visible, positive and strong role models, cycling is likely to continue to grow in all its forms.
All the best with your presentation and I wish you good luck and a lot of fun on the bike.
The powerpoint presentation is here: Presentation – The best cyclist in the world read only
A huge thank you to Marianne for taking the time to respond and inspire at least one youngster (and this not so youngster). Keep pedallin’ kids…..