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Chairman’s Blog – The School of Cycling

It’s great to see that yet another Bike Manawatu rider has been named in a National team going to a World Championships. Emily Shearman will be accompanying seasoned internationals Campbell Stewart and Michaela Drummond to the World Junior Track Cycling Champs later this year. When about 20% of a World’s team is from the one small club, then something good is happening there! Really, the genesis of our junior and senior successes in competition starts with the parents, and their encouragement and commitment in getting their kids onto bicycles. Often that is simply that the kids follow their parents lead and ride because their parents do or have. After that, it’s the activities of school-level cycling which give the kids their opportunities to compete and socialise with their peers. But it is then the responsibility of the club to nurture the young riders’ skills and provide the next level of competition so that they can complete their cycling “apprenticeship”. This really happens when the youngsters can race against older, more experienced riders, some of who (myself included) must seem ancient to the kids. At our track and road racing competitions, including the time trial series, we encourage participation from young and old and participation together. For me, a highlight of racing is seeing a bunch of riders of all ages battling it out, maybe helping one another stay away from a chasing group, or sprinting against each other at the line. So may this continue, but to do that, we need all ages to turn up to events. The oldies will often learn something too!

The next big event on the local calendar is the Manfeild 6 hr challenge in early May. If you haven’t organised a team and entered, do it soon. It’s a great event, lots of fun, and safe to boot. Best part about it is that you don’t have to ride for the whole 6 hours (unless of course you want to!).

National Club Road Championships are in a few weeks, and a good contingent of BM riders will be heading down to Central Otago for the racing. If you are going and would like to be the BM team manager, please give me a call. Let’s hope for lots of green jersey’s on the podium.

Daylight saving ends soon. Apart from the recognition that shorter days are coming, it means that you’ll need some good lights in the later afternoons and early evenings. I like to see riders with two rear back (red) lights, one on the bike and one on the person. Of course you need a decent light on the front of your bike to see where you’re going, but also to warn other road users you are coming. Better still if you have some reflective clothing on so that you can be seen by car headlights and streetlights. Really, there is no excuse for not being highly visible.

This will be my last Chairman’s Blog, as I will be stepping down from the Board at the AGM on the 5th. I will write a Chairman’s report looking back on the year, but also looking forward. I hope to see you all there at the AGM to support the running of the club and also to celebrate the track riders at their prize giving, which is on the same night at the Marist Clubrooms. Come along at 6:30 pm for a 7 pm start, and bring a plate of food to share.

Safe riding,