Welsh Cycling’s Club of the Year 2013 and 2104 started 2015 in some style when it hosted the National Cyclo-cross Championships in January 2015. With just a tiny budget, a small team of organisers and a huge team of but 100 committed volunteers we welcomed riders from all over in what has been s said were the best ever because of the welcome!!! The whole event was filmed by S4C so we can watch it over and over again.
As great as the event was, it took its toll on our volunteers and our training ground. The Committee sat down to review what was expected of our club – “everything for everyone” or do what we do best – we chose to be friendly and inclusive, Develop our Youth, support innovation, share our experience and promoting CX, MTB and club rides.
We promote 2 reliability rides, 2 Audaxes, discipline-specific coaching for riders of all ages and abilities, social functions, a charity Hill Climb: we support community challenges, events and ideas. The Deri Dash Hill climb in June saw 120 riders compete and raise £3,300 for charity. The use of social media to communicate what we do has made friends all over the World. The impact of the club’s focus has been amazing and membership has risen above 300 for the first time(In June 2013 we had 194 members)
As a development club, Abergavenny Road Club welcomes young riders aged between 5 and 16 – we create a fantastic, friendly atmosphere and encourage riders and their parents to get involved with the club and the sport of cycling. We have expanded to 140 young riders and are probably the largest Go Ride club in Wales.
Every Saturday morning, up to 70 young riders attend cycling sessions provided by qualified coaches and willing, patient, parent volunteers. The sessions are fully inclusive, involve fitness, skills, racing and lots of fun. The club has invested in volunteers and now boasts 12 level 2 coaches, 2 Welfare Officers and a host of helpers. Coaches take turns to Lead sessions, and rotate groups each week – this ensures that volunteers and riders develop. Our coaches provide discipline specific sessions for riders of all ages, including MTB, Cross and Road and our club co-promoted a Schools Cycle Event for riders from all over Monmouthshire and supported the Festival of Cycling in August.
The club does not charge for activities, but through wise financial management has funded another L2 coach, discipline specific, education for existing coaches and has funds in place to develop 3 Junior Leaders. The Club received Go Ride Accreditation in November 2014 and is looking towards disability accreditation
Club riders compete in a variety of events, and have achieved great successes in The Welsh MTB Championships and Welsh Cyclo-cross league. Several riders were selected for Wales and GB Development Squads. Megan James became National champion in MTB.
Ffion James has competed internationally for Team GB in Road, MTB and Cross and is a rising star in British Sport. To keep her feet on the ground, she attends youth sessions and helps young riders. Her sisters Becky and Rachel are busy training for the Rio Olympics and George North was a star of the Rugby World Cup – but they also find time to volunteer at club events.
This has been another, terrific year for Abergavenny Road club and the change in focus has brought great benefits and increased membership, culminating in being awarded Welsh Cycling club of the Year for a third year running. The future of Welsh Cycling is in safe hands us.