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Friday, 1 June 2012

Bournemouth Cycling Centre: One Year On

Press Release
Bournemouth Cycling Centre

Facility Manager Alan MaCrae looks back on the first 12 months.

So after 15 years of waiting for a track to be built, and 1 month after the 2012 summer finally arrived, how is “Track Cycling” looking in Bournemouth?
From the perspective of the Bournemouth Cycling Centre I would say “Very well thank you”. Last year the Centre used the couple of summer months available after the opening to introduce track cycling to the local cycling community but stopping short of any full on racing. Many riders have grasped the nuances of safe bike handling on the 34 degree banking and, with a little help, most find they can not only cope but have relished the challenge. There is quite a lot to cope with, but like learning to drive on the motorway, you just take it step by step.
Here clubs like the Poole Wheelers and Bournemouth Arrow have taken the lead in running Club sessions helping their own novice trackies take that absolutely first step. Support for younger riders also came from Richard Eastham’s Feria Sport’s Kids Club Saturday morning, proving to the under 12s there is nothing to fear. The Cycling Centre’s own “Accreditation” (the Centre’s own driving test) has provided that essential formality so all riders in open sessions know that those around them can be trusted. This is supplemented by the Bournemouth Arrow’s open Wednesday evening “Intermediate Session” to help riders take that next step.
In the last month, the Bournemouth Arrow promoted Track League provides one more significant piece of the jigsaw supported by a great team of volunteers drawn from across the cycling community. The invaluable support provided by Raymond Brown gives the organisers the freedom to concentrate on getting the structure of the League right so as to provide a range of levels of competition. The recent Regional Youth Omnium promoted by the Poole Wheelers was a timely example of what will be achieved here. Nearly 100 young riders up to the age of 16 from Welwyn, Brighton, Reading and Herne Hill gave ample demonstration of just how competent local riders will be after just a couple of year’s track riding.
To open the gates to the next generation of local young riders Winton College and Glenmoor School, with 1500 pupils between them and located right next door to the track are just about to launch their Cycling Centre of Excellence. Here the students can make use of the Bournemouth Arrow’s own Wattbikes as well as having their own fleet of track bikes funded through Dorset Cycling Development Group. The Olympic Torch goes past their door on 13th July and the whole school day is being given over to sport, one of which of course is the opportunity to ride the track.
Alan MaCrae & Chief Comm, Gerrish Gray

Progress is all about gaining experience in organisation, coaching and rider development. The League is now pretty close to getting the right balance of rider ability in each group to facilitate rider progression from Youth to B Group to A Group. The ultimate aim is to ensure the highest possible standard of competition for both individuals and clubs in the A League so, for those that want to, the step up to being competitive at Regional and then National level is achievable. The League’s weekly “Invitation” events, and the BH Postcode Championships in August are specifically designed so local riders, clubs and teams can “try out” and enjoy the competition those events that are included in National Championships can bring.
I would summarise by saying “A month into the summer, what can be seen at the moment is just the start, as a result of the background work already put in, track cycling in Bournemouth is on an upward path”.

For further information contact
Alan McRae via alan.mcrae@uwclub.net

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