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A West Bromwich school student is switching the belts for the bicycle as she prepares to take part in the Prudential RideLondon this summer. Emily Johnson, who studies at Sandwell Academy, may normally associate herself with the karate mat but has decided to give herself a new challenge – riding through the streets of London and Surrey on July 30.
The 17-year-old will be among thousands taking to the start line for the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 46, riding 46 miles in the world’s biggest cycling festival, taking in the iconic sights of the capital on completely traffic-free roads.
Johnson was also at the regional launch of the 2017 PruGOals programme in Birmingham, joined by double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes, and left in awe at meeting a gold medallist while ready to take on something completely new to her. “I signed up for the Prudential RideLondon as a challenge to myself, as a good opportunity to get to know myself more as a person and let all my thoughts go with just me and the bike,” said Johnson, a four-time karate European medallist. “That end goal is finishing the ride, I want to gain a level of fitness to live a normal life while keeping doing the hobbies I do, but being able to do them better. “The only cycling I’ve ever done is with my brothers, we used to do trails and I always tried to challenge myself to see how far I could go. “Meeting Dame Kelly Holmes was fantastic, she’s been a massive influence for me to push myself, knowing what her sporting journey is compared to mine. “I want to get to competing in Olympics with karate, that would be a dream of mine and I’m really keen to see what I can do.” Double Olympic gold medallist Holmes took part in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 46 on its maiden ride last year, and has now joined forces with Prudential and education charity Teach First. Their initiative will see 260 students and 40 teachers provided with bikes, equipment, training and nutrition advice as part of the PruGOals programme, boosting the wellbeing and employability skills of young people.
The aim is to also encourage young adults to set their own goals, helping them to achieve what they thought might not have been possible.