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Business Training & Wellness Packages

August 27, 2015 in Community Issues, Education, Health & Fitness, Latest Articles, News, Nutrition, Opportunities, Sport, Uncategorized, Women

Get Your Workplace Motivated & Up-Skilled

Benefiting Your Business

Whatever your industry or sector, there are risks associated. Whether those risks are direct safety hazards i.e. working in front-line public services or indirect health hazards i.e. your workforce spend hours sat at a desks, staring at their computer screens, there are effective, low-cost methods to ensure you and your workforce stay healthier, happier and confident in their abilities.

 

Who We Are

FunMeFit Ltd have been a community-led, health/wellness-focused business for over 3 years. Our main aim has been to promote the services and activities offered by local and national sports clubs, organisations and businesses through our popular network and directory www.funmefit.com. We have been successful in building an extensive list of trusted, qualified connections in the health and wellness, sports, fitness and safety industries and are ready to use these links to assist other businesses with sourcing staff development, training and wellness programmes.

 

What We Offer

Quite simply, we offer a no-nonsense approach for businesses who want to find something to motivate, up-skill or develop their staff. We take the hassle out of your search to find a training provider, motivator, activity provider or key speaker who is right for your business. We listen to your needs, make suggestions, find the right provider, ask for a quote from providers, we add our commission fee (10% of overall cost) and we create a bespoke package according to what you’ve asked for.

We can find low-cost, no fuss solutions to your business needs including:

  • Staff Training – from personal safety to motivation training.

  • Key Speakers – from sports people to business professionals.

  • Team-Building – survival training, corporate fitness, activities and sports.

  • Courses – for staff young and older in confidence, public speaking, management etc.

  • Events – providing and making suggestions for your events i.e. activity providers, sports people, speeches, catering and much more.

 

Our fees

We don’t charge you a penny for our services. We take a commission from the activity providers/key speakers who we will ask for a quote from for your needs.

 

Contact us:

For more information or to contact us to discuss your needs, e-mail Kate or Andy at: info@funmefit.com.

 

For activity providers who want to join our list of contacts and promote their services as part of our network, please register your company/club at www.funmefit.com/register or e-mail us on the above for more information.

 

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

The strongmen descend on Frickley Athletic FC

October 12, 2014 in Community Issues, Events, Families & Children, Health & Fitness, Latest Articles, News, Nutrition, Sport

The pitch at Frickley Athletic Football Club has never seen much more than a good football match or two but this month, the ground will be invaded by a crowd of epic proportions.

On 19th October, the giant competitors of Yorkshire’s Strongest Man 2014 will arrive in South Elmsall for an event like no other organised by Hulk’s Strongman Division, co-promoted by Yorkshire-based sport network, FunMeFit and sponsored by PPS Nutrition.

Image source: Hulks Promotions

Image source: Hulks Promotions

Fifteen of the strongest men from around the country including big names like Sheffield’s Strongest Man, Phil Roberts and Wales’ Strongest Man, Simon Johnston are already in the line up. Refereeing the competition is Britain’s four-time Strongest Man, Eddie Hall who at 6ft 3in tall, weighing 23 stone is not your average Frickley ref.

On the day, the competitors will have to complete a range of activities including the log lift, a tractor pull and a tug of war for which the winner will receive the first price of £500.

The event will also include a tug of war between the strongmen competitors and Frickley Athletic players and staff for entertainment purposes according to Andrew Picken, Frickley Athletic FC’s Commercial Manager: “The team at Frickley Athletic FC are always open to new ideas in order to provide our community with top class regional sport. As well as our main sport, football of course, we are looking at other ways to encourage people to come to our ground.

“By working with the Hulks strongman division, we are hope to provide a great day of sporting entertainment and something different for families in the area to come and see,” he added.

The event has already been promoted widely across social media in recent weeks and is set to be an action-packed, community show for all the family.

Mark Anglesea, Hulk’s Strongman Division organiser and two-time Guinness World Record holder said: “These are seasoned strongmen that can achieve the minimum lifts, for example the starting weight is 280kg. We make spectators very welcome and contribute to events being family orientated, plus the athletes love the encouragement and support.”

The event will take place at Frickley Athletic’s ground on Westfield Lane in South Elmsall on Sunday, October 19. The gates open at 11am and the competition starts at noon.

Tickets cost £5 and are available on the day at the ground. For more information visit: www.hulks-strongman.co.uk

To stay updated via social media, Like the Strongman Yorkshire Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/strongmanyorkshire

 

Sheffield Support for Local Boxer

April 24, 2014 in Community Issues, Events, Health & Fitness, Latest Articles, News, Nutrition, Sport, Uncategorized

 rsz_peter_john_adametches_010414_pjtaste-1-1.1.1

 Left to right: Peter Moulam (PJ taste founder) , Adam Etches (IBF  youth middleweight title boxer), John Fitzpatrick (PJ taste founder)

  

Sheffield based professional boxer Adam Etches, aka the bomber, tasting success with support from caterers PJ Taste

 Adam Etches, promoted by the boxing legend Ricky Hatton, still remains unbeaten as he aims to bring back titles to his hometown of Sheffield. But, apart from the boxing, Adam’s active lifestyle and nutrition forms the backbone of his success in the sport. FunMeFit decided to catch up with Adam and find out more about his new partnership with local business P J taste.

PJ taste, based at 249 Glossop road Sheffield, know a thing or two about the importance of nutritious and healthy food. Best of all you don’t have to be a professional sports person to benefit from eating it with all the ingredients sourced locally.

PJ taste are providing Adam with a delicious range of wholesome foods to complement his high intensity training schedule, and to make sure his body recovers with the help of a balanced and carefully planned meal plan.

 

Adam said, “P J taste are providing me with meals throughout the week to allow me to concentrate on my training and boxing, which is fantastic. I generally pick up my freshly prepared food for the day from their shop. I’m really appreciative of the support they are giving me. I cannot emphasise the importance of eating ‘clean’ food – by that I mean balanced meals that provide essential nutrients that can benefit anyone, not just a boxer. It’s fantastic to have the support of local business”.

 

FunMeFit are working with Adam to follow his journey through the sport of boxing, and to help create awareness of his excellent work raising funds for Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity. Fulfilling his role as ambassador for the Charity, Adam hopes to raise vital funds by joining another boxer, Scott Jenkins and matchmaker Richard Poxon, to cycle the famous ‘La Mont Blanc’ – a gruelling 138km ride through the Italian Alps in July 2014.

We will feature more on Adam, and his challenge, however in the meantime if you would like to follow Adam’s meal plan with PJ taste there is a special blog at Adam Etches a week of nutritionally balanced meals – why not take a look.

 

If you would like to support Adam’s fundraising efforts for Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity you can do so at justgiving.com

We are looking forward to welcoming Adam and P J Taste as members of FunMeFit soon so you can stay updated about their great work in the community.

                                                                           Pictures courtesy of the Sheffield Star

 

Championship Boxing 26th April – Sheffield

Adam is also due to fight in the Championship Boxing Event this weekend at Ponds Forge, Sheffield. If you’d like more information, click on the image below to be taken to the Ricky Hatton Promotions Website.

etches_and_jenkins_p_6f47bb

‘Tis the Season to be SAD!

December 5, 2013 in Community Issues, Families & Children, Health & Fitness, Latest Articles, News, Nutrition, Uncategorized, Women

Christmas is a time of year many people associate with plump turkeys, presents overflowing beneath a bauble-studded Christmas tree and children/domesticated animals gambolling around a quaint family home. Other people may think of it as a time where we consume a bit too much sherry, definitely too much rich food and suffer the familiar family dispute (or two).

However, this time of year people are also prone to suffering SAD. This acronym refers to Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a hotly disputed topic but one which, if you suffer from it, is all too real. According to NHS Choices, it is defined as ‘a type of depression that has a seasonal pattern. The episodes of depression tend to occur at the same time each year, usually during the winter.’ The symptoms of SAD are:

  • Low mood
  • Lack of interest in things you normally enjoy
  • Being less active than normal
  • Sleeping more

This ‘winter depression’ usually begins to rear its head just as the days are getting shorter – when the sky is dark as you leave school or work – and intensifies to a peak during December, January and February. Severity can range from mild to severe. All symptoms tend to lift as spring blooms.

There are several reasons why people might suffer from SAD but the most typical ones, psychologists and scientists surmise, is lack of exposure to sunlight and the effect on hormonal activity. Absorption of sunlight is a core process in the manufacture of the hormone, serotonin, which the body uses to stabilise mood. Sunlight also affects the production of melatonin, which tells your body to feel sleepy, as well as the body’s circadian rhythm, which is responsible for regulating biological processes like sleep.

All in all, SAD is thought to be a type of depression that is often easily treatable using particular methods –numerous studies have shown that light therapy (using a lightbox that mimics the light of the sun) have been successful in alleviating SAD. These are professional treatments and it is always best to speak to a doctor if you think you might need help.

If you only feel mildly blue, you can also boost your mood by doing fun things associated with winter, like toasting marshmallows, going ice-skating or cuddling up with a good book by the fire.

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to boost mood. We here at FunMeFit never tire of extolling the virtues of exercise, even though it might seem like the last thing you want to do in the depths of winter. Here are five exercise tips to help you stay positive as Christmas’s fun and demands descend upon us:

  • Go for a brisk walk with a friend or family member in the crisp winter air: you will see vibrant colours and dazzling skies that only appear at this time of year;
  • It may seem absurd, but going for a run in the cold (make sure you go during daylight and the ground isn’t too slippery!) is invigorating;
  • Invest in a yoga mat and do some indoor yoga – there are plenty of good videos online and this stress-relieving activity is completely free;
  • Go tobogganing with your friends or family in the snow – if past years are anything to judge by, it may well be a white Christmas! And,
  • If you have any old sports equipment or games that you no longer use, take them to a charity shop so someone else can use it. Clearing out the clutter is always a mood-lifter and so is helping others!

It’s important to visit your GP if you suspect you might be suffering from SAD to get a clear diagnosis from a health professional. Even if you feel perfectly chipper throughout these shorter, colder days, exercise is still an integral feature for a fun, active lifestyle. Try one of the tips this weekend and you could feel even better. Happy holidays, everyone!

By Catherine Heath

Introduction to Workplace Wellness

November 8, 2013 in Community Issues, Families & Children, Health & Fitness, Latest Articles, News, Nutrition, Uncategorized

What do moustaches, yoga and the NHS all have in common?

Lack of time is largely blamed for why people do not exercise enough. The average adult person sleeps away one third of his or her daily life and works for another third. This hasn’t yet accounted for time spent commuting, preparing food or doing domestic chores.

Gone are the youthful days of being able to eat Big Macs, drink gallons of Coca-Cola and slump for hours in front of the TV without putting on weight. Obesity and obesity-related diseases are at record-levels all over the world, and sedentary lifestyles – combined with too much processed, fattening food – is largely to blame. Heavy corporate lunches, snacking at your desk, driving to work and that post-work glass of wine (or two) add to the unhealthiness.

Aside from extra weight gained, about 10.8 million work days were lost in the UK because of work-related stress, depression and anxiety from 2010 to 2011 (NHS).

Bad employee health also has large costs for employers. Absenteeism, as well as disability, injury and healthcare claims, all contribute to company overheads. Organisations can drive down costs down by implementing workplace wellness activities and initiatives to improve overall employee health.

What is Workplace Wellness?

The concept of workplace wellness has been widened over the past ten years to cover the “culture of health” within the workplace.

Workplace wellness can refer to organisational policies designed to encourage better employee health, both mental and physical. These include measures such as allowing flexitime to fit around exercise, offering on-site kitchen and eating areas, providing healthy food options in vending machines, holding “walk and talk” meetings, and offering monetary and other motivations to participate, among many other possibilities.

Outside of corporate policy, wellness covers all aspects of health, from physical fitness, to healthy eating, getting some fresh air and general mental wellbeing. Many people have been integrating “workplace wellness” into their own routine of commute, morning snack, lunch with colleagues and dinner with the family.

What are the Benefits?

As a result, people are happier at work, are more productive, more motivated and live longer. Believe it or not, work is actually good for your health because it encourages social integration and a sense of pride. Happier people have improved immunity to disease.

It’s all about juggling healthy activities to fit in with your daily routine. We want to review some of the things that you can do to improve employee health at your organisation.

Workplace Wellness: Case Studies

Jessica Heath, Administrator at the Royal College of Nursing, has introduced group yoga sessions at her workplace. She set this up because she thinks it’s really important to maintain a healthy mind-set.

“When we work, we’re all really stressed, but physical exercise makes you feel better and more productive at work. I’m sat at a desk all day and not moving, so it’s convenient to have something quick, say 15-20 minutes.”

There are other reasons why workplace wellness is so important. “It strengthens bonds with people to take part in community activities. It makes a difference to work at a place where everyone supports each other. Work is not just a place you go to get money; it’s a part of your life.”

She has also organised a “Positivity Day” to encourage people to think positively. “We did some inspirational videos, and ran yoga to introduce people to different types of physical activity. We had a positive space where we brought in baby pictures and guessed who they were. Learning, physical activity and playing a game for fun are all different types of positive activities. One of the key things is laughing together,” she says.

The Royal College of Nursing have won awards for their workplace wellness programme. Rightly so, since “a lot of people need more support in living a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, it’s important for work to prize your health.”

The Movember campaign across workplaces worldwide draws attention to the importance of men’s health awareness. Men are encouraged to grow moustaches for the entire month of November to highlight the important issues of prostate and testicular cancer, as well as mental health, raising money for charity in the process. Click here to find out how you can donate.

Workplace Wellness and Beyond

The Centre for Workplace Health (CWH) in Sheffield was launched in 2005. A partnership between University of Sheffield, the Health and Safety Laboratory and the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, it seeks to achieve national targets set out by UK Government.

You can join in by seeing if there are any activities to take part in at your office or organisation. If there aren’t, take Jessica’s lead and see if you can set up one of your own. If you’re not working for any reason, whether it’s because you’re studying, out of work or a stay-at-home parent, don’t fret! There are many programmes you can join to improve health and wellness.

Check out FunMeFit’s member directory for activities in Sheffield and elsewhere! Click here to find out more about workplace health.

By Catherine Heath

Cooking With Kids!

July 23, 2013 in Children & Play, Community Issues, Education, Families & Children, Health & Fitness, Latest Articles, News, Nutrition, Opportunities

The Mini Cooking Club has been a registered charity since 2012, providing free cooking workshops for families and children. We believe that food is a fundamental component to a happy life, and that essential cooking skills should be instilled from a young age. All of our classes are free and teach members practical cooking lessons combined with basic nutrition information.

Our members have fun in the kitchen, and learn that cooking needn’t be difficult or expensive. All of our recipes can be reproduced cheaply and easily, and have high nutritional value. The Club is staffed entirely by volunteers and relies on donations to undertake its vital work in the community.

There is a misconception among people that children do not want to learn how to cook or will be hard to handle in the kitchen. The Mini Cooking Club has found all of its young members to be willing, enthusiastic and capable young chefs.

Our Food for Champions workshop, held in honour of the 2012 Olympics in partnership with Southwark Council, produced outstanding results. The children learned how to cook using exotic ingredients from all over the world, and shared a communal meal they had all helped to cook at the end of each class.

The Mini Cooking Club recommends the following tips for encouraging kids into the kitchen:

  1. Treat cooking as family time. Your kids will enjoy your attention and it will strengthen bonds between you.

  2. Get kids asking questions about the origins of their food. Find out if they know where eggs come from, or potatoes. You might be surprised at how many of them don’t know!

  3. Be positive– if you’re fussy about what you eat, your kids will be too! Try different ingredients together, and cook a totally new meal at least once a week.

  4. Let your kids pick ingredients out in the supermarket to cook and try at home. It doesn’t matter if they don’t end up liking it as it’s all about the process.

  5. Have fun!

The Club is based in South London and runs a variety of nutrition workshops, mental health programs, pregnancy classes and a Mini Baking Club for kids.

If you are interested in booking a course, check out our website for more details. Our blog has lots of regular articles about nutrition and health news! 

By Catherine Heath

Three of the Best Foods for Summer

July 3, 2013 in Families & Children, Health & Fitness, Latest Articles, News, Nutrition, Uncategorized

Summer is the season of fruits, picnics and lazy dinners in the dusk. Eating summer meals in the garden remind us of family moments, and food fresh from the vine has a Mediterranean feel.

It’s too hot and humid to enjoy stodgy comfort food, so the best ingredients are ones bursting with freshness and juicy to the taste.

Strawberries

Strawberries served with cream are of course the Wimbledon classic. We wouldn’t be British if we didn’t voraciously consume this distinctive red and white dish by the truckload; it’s just not the same watching Andy Murray without the delicious combination of this summer fruit and some fresh cream dolloped on top.

According to Wimbledon’s own official figures, 8615 punnets are consumed per day, and 28,000kg consumed over course of the tournament, all served with over 7000 litres of fresh cream.

The price of a punnet has increased by a staggering 50% since records started in 1991, from £1.60 to £2.50 in 2013. However, there’s good news if you weren’t lucky enough to get a ticket. Strawberries in Britain are cheap to buy this summer due to the rainy weather, so munch on your own in front of the TV.

The Mini Cooking Club recommends sticking to single rather than double cream for a healthier option.

Watermelon

Watermelons grow on vines in the ground and are related to pumpkins, squash and cucumber. Today, China accounts for over half of all water-melon production, vastly more than any other country.

One of the world’s healthiest foods, and originating in Africa several thousand years ago, it has high levels of lycopene which means it is great for cardiovascular health. Watermelon is full of nutrients including vitamin C, iron and zinc, and at its best when fully ripe. Even the seeds are full of goodness.

When shopping for watermelons, remember that one which is fully ripe will be much heavier than others, so buy a lighter one if you don’t want to eat it straight away. Watermelon can be consumed sliced on its own, added to a colourful fruit salad or incorporated in many other recipes.

Tomatoes

Bursting with antioxidants including vitamin E and C, tomatoes are both a fruit and vegetable. Famously used all over the world, the Italians sometimes call this food “pomodoro”, or “golden apple”. Though often associated with the Mediterranean, tomatoes originated from western South America. They were introduced to Europe by Spanish explorers returning from Mexico in the 1500s.

Widely known to aid in preventing cancerous diseases such as prostate and breast cancer, they are also good for keeping the heart healthy and lowering cholesterol levels. Tomatoes are also important for bones because of their antioxidants, and some studies show they can help prevent neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, as well as reducing obesity.

There is still a lot that scientists don’t know about this fruit, but it is always high on the list of healthy foods. Again, China is the largest world producer of tomatoes and overall 130 million tons are consumed per year.

The best tomatoes to choose when shopping will have rich, deep colours and smooth skins. Add them to a classic Italian salad or find out how to make an easy salsa dip. Sun dried tomatoes are especially delicious and should be stored in a cool, dry place.

By Catherine Heath

This article was sent to us by our new member, The Mini Cooking Club:

“The Mini Cooking Club is a charity that provides educational cooking workshops across London communities. The Club is dedicated to promoting an understanding of how making informed food choices can enhance our wellbeing, and in return create a healthier society.

​Why food?

The Mini Cooking Club was created in recognition that food is an essential component in life. We believe the need to educate society as a whole and to learn more about eating good food. Our aim is to educate people about the benefits of a balanced, nutritious diet, and to discourage the consumption of processed foods with high levels of sugar, fat, salt and additives”.

http://www.theminicookingclub.org.uk/

 

We think you’ll agree that they’re a great addition to the FunMeFit community and don’t forget to connect with them and read more about their great work!

Creating Confident Communities Event

November 28, 2012 in Nutrition, Regular Updates

**Please note, the date for this event has been changed to February**

Eclipse (IPD) and FunMeFit would like to invite you to:

‘Creating Confident Communities’ 

Tuesday 19th February 2013

8am – 9.30am

At The Foundry Climbing Centre, Sheffield

A unique activity-based networking event for all those interested in building a more active and involved community. As a networking opportunity it is aimed at delegates in South Yorkshire and includes a climbing introduction session. Furthermore, there is a selection of “market leading” teambuilding activities to ‘break the ice’ and inspire. It takes confidence and commitment to positively influence your community. Through collaboration with contacts new and old, you can strengthen, develop and build stronger communities throughout South Yorkshire. Attend and start the transformation!

Cost: £12 (includes admission, refreshments & a climbing session) per delegate.

Places are limited so book now to ensure you do not miss out on this Unique Opportunity to meet new contacts, discuss areas of common interest and try new activities. You can book through Eventbrite here:

 

Activities

Climbing starts 8.15am onwards – The option to ‘have a go’ at climbing taught by qualified instructors. An ideal opportunity to ‘break the ice’ with other networkers.Team-working activities start 8.15am onwards – Mentally challenging activities to encourage team working, the development of EQ and learn new skills. Ideal for those who want to be less physical. Participants require no specialist equipment. Climbing harnesses and belay devises will be provided by Eclipse-IPD Ltd. The instructors will operate to a maximum ratio of 1 to 8. We advise climbers wear loose fitting clothes and training shoes.

For further information please contact:
FunMeFit
Kate Hill
07854682323
@FunMeFit
Web: www.funmefit.com
Email: kate@funmefit.com

 

Eclipse (IPD) Ltd
Karl Bacon
07963639725 and Suzanne Wilks 07950247495
@tweet_eclipse
Web: www.eclipse-ipd.co.uk
E-mail: eclipse.ipd@gmail.com

 

 

Don’t Get Drunk, Get Going Girls!

November 19, 2012 in Medicine, Nutrition, Regular Updates, Uncategorized

As more young women are discovering the advantages of living a healthier and alcohol-free life, FunMeFit are launching a campaign: “Don’t Get Drunk, Get Going Girls!”

Let’s face it girls, none of us want a beer belly, that paled complexion, health issues or any other alcohol-related problems that we all know can arise from regularly consuming any type of alcohol. As a tee-totaller myself, I’m regularly worrying about the drinking habits of friends and family but it seems that I’m not the only one with concerns about the effects of alcohol on health. I was excited to see this article in the Daily Mail:

Turning their backs on booze: Four young women explain why it’s cool to be part of Generation Sober  by MEL HUNTER @ www.dailymail.co.uk

 

“It’s a surprising phenomenon – far from binge drinking, many young women are turning their backs on alcohol completely”.

With FunMeFit, I always like to celebrate upbeat stories like this where cultural changes are having a positive impact instead of the usual negative drone. This is why I’ve decided to launch our new campaign:

 

“Don’t Get Drunk, Get Going Girls!”

 

There’s a simple strategy behind it: Get more women into sport, exercise and living a healthier and more active lifestyle and try to discourage women from doing all those naughty things that we know make us less attractive, unhealthy and more prone to serious health problems.

Alcohol is listed as the top way to prevent heart problems by The British Heart Foundation on their website www.bhf.org.uk:

 

“Drinking too much alcohol is one of the most common causes of hospital admission in the UK.

And drinking more than the recommended limits can have a harmful effect on the heart.

It can cause abnormal heart rhythmshigh blood pressure, damage to the heart muscle and other diseases such asstrokeliver problems and some cancers.

Alcohol is also high in calories so it can lead to weight gain. If you are trying to lose weight, cut down on alcohol.”

So if we can encourage young women to give up the booze, as well as anyone else we know and start enjoying something else on a Friday and Saturday night like sport or perhaps a fun girlie night walk then we can all be happier, healthier and feel more like we’ve lived life.

What do you want to remember when you reach your older years? Nothing…Or a fun life filled with activity and friends? I know I’ve made my choice.

So Don’t Get Drunk, Get Going Girls!!

A History of Cycling in Sheffield

November 13, 2012 in Medicine, News, Nutrition, Regular Updates, Website Updates

Cycling in Sheffield – Then and Now  

Dr Jim Walker

 

This year’s Olympics, and characters like Bradley Wiggins, have inspired a resurgence in interest in cycling – even in the hilly terrain of Sheffield. The challenges faced by enthusiasts are not new…..

In June 1869 local papers had a new epidemic to report:

 

In Sheffield and vicinity, the symptoms of that alarming malady, the bicycle fever, are becoming daily more strongly marked and developed…

which might require ‘additional accommodation at the medical institutions of the town’ such as ‘extra facilities for the treatment of casualties’. Undeterred, the fabulous Browne Brothers appeared at the Alexandra Opera House in a display of bicycling dexterity, and in the same week the fever spread:

A Bicycle Club is being formed at the Shakespeare Inn, Gibraltar Street, and there is every prospect of its being a complete success.

(2 June 1869)

Tracing the beginnings of the fever leads us back a month earlier, when a Bicycle Club and Grounds were founded at Sharrow (near Wilson’s Snuff Factory), with a public launch at a crowded Pomona Hotel, with hundreds gathered outside to see a velocipede contest in which a bicycle of local firm Beck and Candlish of Brown Street was proven superior to one imported from Pickering of New York.

Prior to this, however, on April 20th 1869, the ingenious inventor Benjamin Gorrill had been first to announce his own make of ‘bicycle and tricycle velocipedes, of the best materials and workmanship’. He was the son of a scissor-maker of Eyre Street, and started as a scissorsmith, branched out into Orrery making and announced his new-fangled velocipedes (his son John Gorrill was an early rider in the Sheffield contests) from Cadman Lane, Sheffield. Elaborate planetary gear systems were a speciality, as noted in the Independent:

A most ingenious, skilfully constructed, and beautiful mechanism, showing the movements of the earth and sun, with other celestial phenomena, the work of Benjamin Gorrill, has been lent to the Museum…

The Brown brothers from Liverpool (before they added an ‘e’ to their name on the Alexandra stage) must have infected many with bicycle fever in a series of outdoor public displays on the 18th May, although the town’s physical geography posed a challenge:

Since the brothers have been in Sheffield they have tried to mount some of our hills, and have succeeded in getting up Snighill, Pond Hill, and have gone from Norfolk Street to Broomhill. In the afternoon of today they intend to try Paradise Square.

Crowds of locals held their collective breath as the brothers ‘made an attempt to rise Paradise Street’, noting that ‘from Westbar, all the way up, it is very uneven, being paved with very rugged boulders’, but they ultimately failed to conquer the final dozen yards near the top.

Henry Swan, curator of John Ruskin’s Museum which opened a few years later on Bell Hagg Road, Walkley, was another early pioneer of cycling, but Walkley’s uncompromising gradients presented the same problem and were only to be attempted by the truly dedicated. Swan promoted the benefits of athletic exercise, took in the invigorating air, maintained a strictly vegetarian lifestyle and was an advocate of the Cold-Water Cure.

His employer, however, was a critic of all mechanical transport, to be avoided ‘where it supersedes healthy bodily exercise’, famously denouncing steam engines but also objecting to bicycles:

 

I not only object, but am quite prepared to spend all my ‘bad language’ in reprobation of the bi-, tri-, and 4-,5-, 6 or 7 cycles, and every other contrivance and invention for superseding human feet…

                                                                                (John Ruskin)

Heavy steel velocipedes may not compare well to the carbon-fibre machines of today, but there were some early fore-runners. Surveyor Frank William Smith of the Hawthorns, Carr Road, Walkley, knew all about the state of the local roads (soon to be appointed Surveyor of Highways for Sheffield); and for health, comfort and practicality on the hills of Walkley he pioneered a bamboo bicycle (a London-based company advertised a ‘Special Racer’ weighing only 25lbs). His testimony in The Graphic, using words of heresy in a City of Steel, conjures an image of him gliding lightly up Blake Street or Bell Hagg Road past bemused steel-workers:

                Riding a Bamboo is indeed a pleasure which, to the riders of steel machines, is unknown.

                                                                (Walkley, 15 March 1897, the Graphic)

 

Bamboo never caught on, however, presumably because the cycles didn’t last – so ultimately the steel-makers had the last laugh….