There is no doubt that cycling is growing across Bendigo at recreational and sporting level, recently Cycle Sports Victoria awards night Bendigo and District Cycling Club was awarded club of the year. It is fair to say that the Bendigo Club runs an extensive and very successful junior development program now for a number of years.
This Junior introduction to cycling is under the banner of “J-Cycle” which comes from Cycling Australia born from the need across Regional Australia of cycling clubs to make an entry level into the sport of cycling available with a purpose and defined structure. J-Cycle is a Sports Commission Accredited Program and has the same benefits of insurance cover as all other licensed riders in the sport.
Under tuition and watchful eyes of Noel Sens Para-cycle Olympian and accredited coach in his own right, Steve Flood (Tom Flood’s grandson) long term cyclist in many disciplines a treasure trove of skills, assisted by Sam Verlin who competed at National Level as a Junior having a heart for young cyclist being given sound instruction was also a Bendigo Academy of Sport Cycling program member.
These three are supported by Bendigo Club members in the administration of the program allowing families and their children to be given fun and insight into competitive cycling and its technical aspects required in becoming proficient safe cyclists over the 8 weeks the program is conducted and beyond for a cycling life.
During this time the riders get a taste of the excitement that competitive cycling brings, given an opportunity to ride in the Thursday night track cycling program at the Tom Flood Sports Centre. This year there has been 42 participants attend which stretched the resources of the club in being able to supply track bikes that could be shared across the program life and attendees. This is something which many cycling clubs across regional Australia would be pleased to have the challenge of being stretched with.
The close relationship between J-Cycle members and club racing members will provide both short-term participation and learning options for each member through J-Cycle, as well as the option to move on to club membership at the Under-9 age division, currently the youngest age level for competitive cycling. The program is also aimed at providing parents with peace of mind their children are receiving sound basic advice at an introductory level to cycling and the benefits that a club like Bendigo can offer and support them in the sport. The depth and breadth of experience that Steve, Noel and Sam bring would be more than could be expected for a program of this calibre.
Cycling requires much more than raw talent or determination. It is 20% inspiration and 80% perspiration it requires a mindset that is like a chess game and being ahead of your components next move and adapts the real estate motto of position, position, position. The starting point is that of basic bike skills having the right set up of bike size seat height and stretch of the arms to be comfortable and utilise the core body strengths.
The participants are equipped with techniques that develop their balance and braking capabilities in keep the bike upright, rule number one of recreational and competitive cycling codes. Confidence building is essential, a cyclist in any bunch that lacks peace of mind very quickly gives out the vibes and can unsettle other cyclists from their position as a fall is not something any cyclist relishes.
Most of the skills are taught at very low speed as to intensify the need of having the core strengths to maintain balance for corners and turning the bike. The participants use fixed wheel bikes that are used traditionally in track racing (now a cultural statement in some parts of community) that have no brakes and are stopped with leg strength and resistance against the freewheeling pedals by slightly shifting their body weight.
The program has a big emphasis on spatial awareness in riding a straight line, knowing how to do head checks that make cyclists safe around others sharing the similar space.
Congratulations to all that attended parents and young newly officiated members of the cycling community as they have just graduated from the program and will be integrated into the Bendigo and District Cycling Club Junior program.
Happy Christmas to all our cycling interested community members God is willing to bring the promised peace and joy not just for Christmas but for all time.
Looking forward to seeing you on the road soon God willing.