Little Rider Co 'Industry Inspiration' Interview Series - SI PATON (MALVERNS & BALANCE BIKE CUP)
Little Rider Co are on a mission to inspire more kids to ride from a younger age. We love working with like minded people and brands in the industry to support our next generation of riders.
The team will be carrying out industry interviews with people, brands and companies that are making a positive impact across the kids 2 wheel scene.
We are working hard to bring you the leading innovators in the space.
Today we talk to Si Paton, the man behind the GT Malverns Classic, the Balance Bike Cup and all things MTB!
How did you get your ‘job’?
Back in 2007, I became the Event Director for British Cycling's National Downhill Mountain Bike Series. One element of this was to introduce balance bike racing at half time on race day of the main event. This was instantly successful giving me the inspiration to start an outdoor, cycling based festival, the GT Bicycles Malverns Classic.
What is the Balance Bike Cup and WHY do you do what you do?
The Balance Bike Cup aim is to encourage the stars of tomorrow, today! Delivering a safe and fun environment where they can showcase their skills and challenge themselves.
What is a typical day in the life look like running the Malverns & the Balance Bike Cup?
The first thing is a shower and a little stretching, I’m getting old!
Kids up and ready for school, followed by the school run and walk the dog. Then sit at the computer for a few hours working. The weather dictates the lunchtime ride out with the following to choose from;
1) BMX Track
2) Dirt Jumps
3) Gravel Bike
4) Road Bike
5) Mountain Bike
Collect kids from school, homework, dinner, bath, storybook and bed. Whilst the two young daughters are asleep I usually work until midnight every night and repeat!
What are your goals and future plans for the Balance Bike Cup?
The 2020 plan is to organise the Balance Bike National Championships on Saturday the 11th of July at Rhyd-Y-Felin in North Wales. This would be whilst practice was on for the Downhill Mountain Bike Championships, ensuring a big crowd and plenty of atmosphere.
The main plan is for the Balance Bike World Championships to be at the GT Bicycles Malverns Classic Festival, 28-30th of August 2020.
This would be the premier event of the year with racing over each of the three days to decide the title. All in front of an expected audience of 7,000+ festival-goers.
How do you currently see the kids cycling scene?
With the recent lockdown, we have all seen a huge increase in physical activities including participation in recreational cycling. Now add in the acceptance that balance bikes are the first ‘go-to’ style of bike for parents of toddlers and we will never look back!
What impact would you like to make on kids cycling, and how do you see the future?
If I can give them a platform to come together to ride, race and hang out with new friends with everybody smiling then my job is done!
Who inspires you in the industry?
A few key people are instrumental to me due to their strong moral compass, messages of health and positivity; Micky Evans, Clive Gosling, Martin Hawyes, Adam Coxon, Martin ‘Smiley’ Brown, Kazzi Grahame and Greg Loftus-Boyd.
What goes into the research when developing your events?
Karen Wood who was originally ‘Strider UK’ saw my vision and allowed me to work with her at the start to bring this to fruition.
Additionally, Kazzi Grahame was a huge wealth of knowledge that she has gained from running her ‘Ready Steady Riders’ sessions and events.
How can people find out more about your work and the Balance Bike Cup & the Malverns Classic?
Please check out the following: