RHYL CC FIRST WELSH CLUB TO BE AWARDED GO-RIDE CLUBMARK
Rhyl Cycling Club has become the first Welsh club to gain Go-Ride Clubmark accreditation with British Cycling.
The achievement raises Rhyl’s status across all spheres of cycling promotion, from grass roots youth to coaching champions of the future.
The award is also a tribute to members' fortitude. For it comes two years after Rhyl CC lost four members in Britain's worst cycling tragedy - all killed by a car skidding out of control on an icy bend.
For Jon Harland the full time Club Development Officer for (North) Wales, the award is especially poignant, for his son Thomas, 14, was one of those who died.
“It’s important to me that I continue in the sport they all loved,” said Harland. “That’s what helps me. Coaching, I get a great buzz out of it.”
Harland, whose brief as development officer is to cover clubs in the whole region, found that his own club was more than ready to put in the work required to win Go Ride Clubmark accreditation.
“Rhyl have done very, very well. Their weekly activities have already gained new members.
One newcomer to cycling is 8-year-old Christian Smith from Rossett, near Wrexham.
He was identified as a classy rider. Been giving his dad a hard time on the bike.
“But we need clubs to rise to the standard of Go Ride Clubmark. There are not enough of them.
“You need a coach or two to start, otherwise it can’t work. Richard Mills is the coach at Rhyl, without him they there would have been no award.”
But the club also needed access to a safe circuit for 12 year olds to ride.
And for this they have secured part use of Glan Morfa Country Park, built on a reclaimed rubbish tip.
The club has use of the paths and can also ride off-road there.
“We are bidding for a 1.2km road circuit there, u-shaped, with a BMX in the centre,” said Harland.
“North Wales is desperately in need of closed circuits. You’ve got to have them if you are to attract 12 year olds. You can’t have them training on the road.
“Dave Cockram (BC Facilities Officer) is working closely with us, he’s a great supporter.”
British Cycling said it is down to the work of dedicated volunteers such as Jon Harland, Rae Hughes and Craig Needs, that the club was able to demonstrate proficiency in “Safeguarding Young People, Coaching, Club Management and Sport Equity and Ethics.”
As well as raising their profile, winning the award has more immediate rewards for Rhyl, such as free British Cycling membership. This comprises seven silver memberships for club officials and 100 free bronze memberships for new members.
There are 1300 British Cycling affiliated clubs, and 22,000 individual members.
There are close on 150 Go Ride clubs.
Rhyl Cycling Club: www.rhylcyclingclub.org.uk
Go Ride: www.go-ride.org.uk
British Cycling: www.britishcycling.org.uk