Christmas came early for a schoolgirl from Chester this week after she was presented with a new bike by Olympic cyclist Joanna Rowsell Shand.
Isobel Dunne, nine, from Upton, won a Union Jack branded Frog Bike signed by Joanna after her mum Jane entered her in a competition run by Frog Bikes.
"She couldn’t believe it when I told her she’d won a bike,” said Jane. She has a Frog bike already but she’s grown out of it so it’s come at just the right time!
“She was thrilled when she won but she was more excited about meeting Joanna because she’d seen her on the telly during the Olympics.”
Joanna, who won gold medals for team pursuit at both London and Rio, met Isobel with her family – 11-year-old sister Hannah, mum Jane and dad Richard – and friends at Sixty Nine Cycles in Lightfoot Street, Hoole, on Tuesday.
After meeting Joanna and posing for photographs wearing her gold medals, Isobel said: “She was really nice. I always wanted to meet an Olympian because my dream is to go to the Olympics.”
She said, “They’re letting her have the bike before Christmas so I think she’s pretty happy about that! She told me they do a lot of cycling as a family, which I think is probably the best way of getting started.”
Asked about her responsibilities as a role model, she added: “I’ve seen it as a responsibility to try and set a good example, get more people into sport, especially girls and young women. So it’s interesting hearing what is holding people back from getting into cycling or a different sport, and then hopefully helping them to address that.”
Nick Moores of Sixty Nine Cycles was a delighted host and commented: “Any way to engage children with an energetic, outdoor and active lifestyle from as early an age as possible is fantastic! A lot of our first experiences on bicycles are with bikes that are too heavy, with no brakes, with poor pedals, and all these other things which make them very uncomfortable and not a nice experience. Frog Bikes now empower kids to have a really good experience, I wish I was a kid now!”