" Take inspiration from Dancing on Ice and don some skates for the day."

If all this talk of the Olympics leaves you feeling on the sluggish side, don't despair. Exciting sports aren't just the preserve of elite athletes - there are plenty of opportunities to try your hand at activities across the network.

Get on yer' bike!

Manchester's impressive Velodrome, otherwise known as the National Cycling Centre, is partly to thank for the overwhelming British dominance on the medals table during the 2008 Beijing games. The world-class venue is the training ground for some of our biggest hopes for 2012, including Victoria Pendleton, Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny. But it's not solely for the athletes - there are regular sessions where the public can go and try their hand at cycling around the track like the pros.

Info:nationalcyclingcentre.com

Ice Sheffield

The winter Olympics may be two years away, but there's no reason not to take inspiration from Dancing on Ice and don some skates for the day. Ice Sheffield has a range of options, from skating, ice hockey lessons or even the more unusual sport of curling. Even if you spend more of the day clinging to the sides or falling on your backside, you can still pretend to be Torvill and Dean, rehearsing the 'Bolero' routine.

Info:icesheffield.com

Edinburgh Commonwealth Pool

Having been closed for renovations for the past three years, much is anticipated of the reopening of the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh this spring. Built in 1970 for the Commonwealth Games, it has been redesigned and organized to be a state of the art facility. Whether you fancy copying Tom Daley and practicing your diving skills (let's face it, not for the faint-hearted) or would rather improve your lap time like Rebecca Adlington, there's something here for everyone. Don't blame us if you end up looking more 'Mr Bean goes swimming' than 'Michael Phelps wins gold', though.

Info:edinburghleisure.co.uk

Middlesbrough Rafting

When it comes to an adrenaline rush, white water rafting must be up there with the best. But you don't have to be in the middle of the mountains: the Tees Barrage has the International White Water Centre which gives everyone the chance to see what it's like weaving through the waves and crashing along the course. It's not for the faint-hearted, mind - if you fancy something a little less high-octane, try flat water canoeing or a powerboat trip, which places the responsibility of not capsizing in the hands of a trained professional!

Info:tbiwwc.com

Windermere sailing

Another Olympic discipline in which our Brits are frontrunners is sailing, and you don't need to take to the tempestuous seas to give it a go. A far more serene and stunning option is heading to the Lake District where the waters will be kinder to beginners. You'll still need guidance from a professional, though, and that's where OB Sailing step in. There are a range of options, from have-a-go sailing taster courses to chartering a bareboat for the whole day, and you're sure to take to life on the water in such impressive surroundings.

Info:obsailing.co.uk

 

 

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