FEATURE: Grassroots clubs provide bright future

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A cycling club steeped in tradition is looking to bring through the next generation of time triallists by using a new closed circuit.

East Bradford Cycling Club was established in 1899 with time trialling at its core and had a host of national champions within its ranks.

Amongst those who have ridden for the club include multiple national time trial champion and Olympic medallist Yvonne McGregor.

“Ours is the oldest cycle club in Bradford starting in 1899 and time trialling was a huge part of that club,” said Mandy Parker, head coach at East Bradford CC.

Amy Loftus

“Obviously over the years with the development of the kids club through Mike Healey that has really progressed and developed.

“A lot of our senior members are in their 80s and are still in our club. Time trialling for them is the core of everything we did. We are now looking to make sure we maintain that but in a different way that keeps riders comfortable and safe.

“Then hopefully move them on to time trials on the road.”

Building work has begun on a new closed road cycle facility at the Wyke Community Sports Village in Bradford where the club will be moving too.

Parker says that the club will be hosting time trials on the course which she hopes will increase participation numbers.

“The plan is to do time trials on the new circuit to help guide kids into what they can do and what is available,” added Parker.

“We think a lot of the problem is the open roads, the feeling of danger and all the accidents that are happening. So we are looking at next year when we get the closed circuit to start running time trials on there for kids and adults.

“We think that might drive up participation. Like a lot of clubs we have struggled post-lockdown to get our kids to time trial.

“At the end of the day if you become a professional cyclist sometimes for a lot of events time trialling is part of it.

“There are prologues in lots of the youth events and we want to maintain that and keep it going so they are ready for the future.

Oliver Perkins

“We think it will really grow when we move to Wyke because we will be able to pull in the local communities as well.”

The latest rider to take national honours at the club was Amy Loftus who won the National Youth Championship, covering 10 miles on the Mallory Park course in 24 minutes and 11 seconds.

Parker says the rising star is the latest in a long line of youths who have honed their talent at the club.

“Amy has always loved time trialling so has always done it along with everything else,” said Parker. “She has really come on as a rider and starting to really achieve successes at racing both circuit races, time trial and also the track.

“We’re very proud of her. She is inspiring the next generation but is also moving on to a new team that can really support junior women.

“We’re a development club so will develop riders as far as we possibly can and we are successful in getting our riders into development teams further on.”

* All reports and features are copyright of Cycling Time Trials/Snowdon Sports. Not to be used without permission. This feature by Ben Goddard.