Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cycling - So you want to be the next Geraint or Nicole?

Ian Jenkins is Director of Cycling Development at Welsh Cycling. With Nicole Cooke and Geraint Thoamas dazzling the nation with their pedal power,  Ian tells us why any budding cyclists out there should take up the sport and how.

Geraint Thomas: Men's Team Pursuit Olympic champion

The ‘whizz’ of wheels, flash of colour and shouts of excitement can be seen at any cycle event, be it the extremes of off-roading at a Mountain Bike race, the speed of sprinting in a Road event or the thrills (and spills!) experienced on the BMX circuit.

Cycle sport is unique in allowing all abilities to compete over similar terrain, enjoying the competition whilst experiencing the ‘buzz’ of professional racing. Fancy the Olympic Mountain Bike Race? Get into the woods and race the trails! Tour de France? Sprint for the road signs! 

Cycling is a fantastic sport where participants on any bike can enjoy the thrill of racing, and where everyone can match their endeavours to the professionals…

Many people have a bike. Gathering dust in the garage – get out the hose pipe! Feeling flat in the shed – pump up the tyres and get pedalling! Cycle sport is often seen as the domain for an elite few, but opportunities exist where all abilities and ages can get involved, pin on a number and head to the start line. 

Disciplines such as Cyclo Cross are easy to enter and with a reasonable level of general fitness, ideal for those wishing to exercise their competitive spirit in the company of like minded enthusiasts! It also allows for an fun workout whilst enjoying the great outdoors.

The best way to find out where the best competitions, rides and like minded enthusiasts is through your local cycling club.

Finding a club is easy – check the ‘club finder’ link from British Cycling’s website and look for your chosen interest. Clubs are many and varied, so don’t be afraid to make contact and find out which suits you. Most clubs have a focus on specific disciplines, and many split between an interest in ‘true’ competition and personal challenges through popular ‘Sportive’ challenges and rides.

The club finder can be found from www.britishcycling.org.uk/clubfinder  .

Those dusting off their bike, getting active and even making the leap into competition will get a head start on the explosion of enthused new participants expected through the ‘Olympic interest’. Welsh stars and defending Champion’s Nicole Cooke and Geraint Thomas are expected to inspire a new generation of young and old participants to get active and take to the pedals!

Welsh Cycling are particularly keen for youngsters wanting to try the sport to enjoy one of our Go-Ride coaching or competition activities. Full details of your nearest club and competitions can be found on the Welsh Cycling website. Be inspired and try cycle sport – our next Olympian could be you!

Follow @WelshCycling on Twitter.