Wheelers appeal for youngsters to Go-Ride
THE exploits of Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Mark Cavendish have put British cycling on the map – not just in this country, but all over the world.
Cycling as a sport is going through a boom at the moment and Southborough and District Wheelers want to jump on that bandwagon.
They currently have around 70 members racing in local and national events, but are looking to appeal to younger talent coming through.
"Cycling is going through a boom thanks to Olympic track cycling, but also the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish – their exploits in the Tour de France and Tour of Italy and other one day events," club chairman Bill MacNay said. "It's a combination of the two and both are making the headlines.
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"The thing with cycling is that there are a number of people who are middle-aged, who have done other sports, perhaps rugby for example.
"They are a bit too old for that and are looking for something else to continue keeping fit. Cycling is a good sport for that. People in their 50s and 60s, if they are good enough, can still compete with people in their 20s. You stay fairly consistent.
"But we also want to publicise ourselves to younger people. We are involved in the so-called Go-Ride scheme and are encouraging youngsters to take up cycling.
"We will be up at St Mark's on a Saturday and want to get kids eight and upwards, to tell them about cycling."
It is a great time to join the Wheelers who are celebrating their 80th birthday this year.
Mainly racing locally in their famous yellow, black and red colours, they have also had notable success nationally. Peter Crofts, who is still racing in his 70s, was crowned the all-round champion at the national vets in the mid-1990s, while Peter Fox has competed to a high standard nationally.
What the club is now looking for is a young star to fly the Wheelers' flag in years to come.
The first Go-Ride day proved to be a success.
"We had about a dozen kids out there and they all seemed to enjoy it," MacNay said.
"We put them through some exercises and some bike handling skills, had them riding around in circles trying not to fall off and then finished with a mini race, where we went off in pairs on a small climb in the Borderers' ground.
"They were only eight to about 12, so it is a bit early to say (if they have a star on their hands), but as it goes on over the summer, I'm sure it will become clearer who are ones we want to keep hold of and develop."
To get involved with the Go-Ride scheme contact MacNay on 01892 670021 or Ian Turner on 01732 358714.