What’s Out There?
Okay, I hear you ask “what’s available for under 18’s, in particular those new to the sport?” Well here’s our answer, if it isn’t provided by Yeovil Cycling Club we’ll give you details of where to find it and, where possible, point you in the direction of someone from the club that may be able to help with guidance and advice.
Here’s a link to the British Cycling web page that has video introductions to the competitive disciplines listed below. If you have any questions or want any further advice please do not hesitate to ask.
What the club can offer:
The Sunday morning club run is the staple of most traditional cycling clubs. This is mainly a social ride on a Sunday morning stopping at different cafes each week and then cycling back to Yeovil. Yeovil Cycle Club offers a club run on most Sunday’s throughout the year.
The club run is an excellent starting point and if you’re not already used to riding in a group of other riders you’ll soon learn this valuable skill and build up your cycling fitness.
The short run is a very good place to start for the younger rider or beginner. This will see you riding 30 or 40 miles at a relatively steady pace. We find that the youngsters soon move up to the medium ride, leaving the older riders struggling to keep up, and often on to the longer faster ride.
You’ll need to carry a pump, a set of tyre levers, a spare inner tube and/or puncture repair kit and preferably a handy cyclist’s multi tool. A spare inner tube, or two, is recommended as it cuts down the time to mend a flat and the punctured tube can be repaired later in the comfort of your own home. We also ask that all riders carry emergency contact details with them as a precaution. Once you join the club these details will be on your membership card that we ask members to carry these with them. We also recommend that you carry a mobile phone just in case.
To ensure that you don’t dehydrate you’ll need a drinking bottle (known as a ‘bidon’ in cycling circles) filled with water or a sports drink. A banana (the traditional food of cyclists) or energy gel will help to stave off the ‘knock’, a cycling term, for ‘hitting the wall’ when the body runs out of energy reserves.
It’s important that your bike is in good road worthy condition, if in doubt your local bike shop should be able to help you out and give advice. Mudguards are recommended over the winter months and lights are recommended in gloomy weather.
The right clothes for the weather conditions are also very important. Again, your local bike shop should be able to help you out or there is a wealth of information on the internet. Yeovil CC team clothing is also available. As a minimum you’ll need a pair of good quality cycling shorts. Followed by a cycling jersey with the pockets in the back to put all the stuff that we’ve listed above!
See the Club Runs page for more details.
For those riders wishing to emulate their Tour du France heroes then you’ll probably be interested in road racing. However, before you can race on the open road you must be aged 16 and over. But don’t worry, racing on a traffic free circuit is the ideal place to start for under 16’s and anyone new to the sport.
Yeovil Cycling Club is a founding member of the Taunton Vale Cycle Racing Association. The TVCRA organise weekly race training sessions through the season (spring to autumn). This year (2013) these sessions were run on a Thursday evening. This takes place on the secure and traffic free airfield circuit of RNAS Merryfield, near Ilton. This is perfect for youngsters from the age of 7 upwards.
Coaching for under 18’s is provided, and is open to all members of the TVCRA, riders must be a member of a TVCRA affiliated cycling club (e.g. Yeovil Cycling Club). In 2013 membership for the under 16’s was £15 for the year and £25 for under 18’s.
These sessions are excellent to learn the craft of road and circuit racing and gain valuable experience riding in a fast group.
Races are also regularly organised on the Merryfield circuit during the season, during the week and at weekends. To find out details of the races at Merryfield see the TVCRA website and the British Cycling website.
There are also a host of other circuit races in the region, such as at Westpoint, near Exeter, and Lugershall in Wiltshire. Again details of all road and circuit races can be found on the British Cycling web site.
Yeovil Cycling Club organise three road races every year, the John Andrews Memorial Road Race, the Ham Hill Road Race and the Pittards Trophy Road Race. The former are suited to the more experienced and stronger riders, but the Pittards, for third and fourth category riders, would be a good introduction to road racing for riders aged 16 and over.
Membership of British Cycling and a racing license is required before a rider is allowed to race. For under 18’s free or discounted membership of British Cycling, with a free racing license, is available. Riders must also be members of a cycling club that is affiliated to British Cycling, such as Yeovil Cycling Club.
Talented riders aged under 16 can also be nominated by the club to attend the Regional School of Racing, organised and run by British Cycling qualified coaches.
Between Spring and Autumn Yeovil Cycling Club runs a weekly evening time trial. This year (2013) these were held on a Tuesday night with the length of course varying between 5, 9 and 10 miles.
The 5 mile Time Trial, held along the B3151 which runs through Yeovilton Air Station, is an ideal event for first timers, especially younger riders.
You don’t have to be a member of the club to try one of the evening time trials, as the club operates a come and try it policy. All riders aged 12 and above are welcome and we’d be happy for you to come along and give it a go. Under 18 riders will require a Parental Consent form to be completed before they can ride, these are available on the day.
Yeovil Cycling club also run a number of ‘open’ events during the season. These events are either a 10 or 25 mile course run along the A303. These are suited to the more experienced under 18 riders and aren’t recommended for inexperienced or first time riders.
Yeovil Cycling club is also affiliated to the Cycling Time Trials, the national body for time trialling, and this allows our members to enter other open time trials organised by other clubs. The CTT website has a section that provides excellent advice for beginners to time trialling.
See the Time Trials page for more details, or contact David Notley (01963 440291).
Why not follow in the wheels of our Olympic multiple gold medal winning GB team and give riding on the track a go. Yeovil Cycling Club has a number of riders that ride and compete on the track.
The two nearest tracks to Yeovil are the Newport Velodrome and the outdoor track at Bournemouth. Newport Velodrome is a purpose built covered track open all year round and is about a one and a half hours drive from Yeovil. They run beginners courses throughout the year and you can ride on the track from the age of 10. Please see their website for more information.
The Bournemouth open air track, just over an hour’s drive from Yeovil, is mainly used between spring and autumn. This year (2013) specific coaching sessions were held on a Saturday morning for under 16’s. See the Bournemouth Cycling Centre website for more details.
Both tracks have bikes available for hire, so you don’t need your own track bike to start. Track bikes are different from normal road bikes. These ‘fixed wheel’ bikes don’t have any gears and you can’t freewheel (the pedals and cranks are always spinning when the bike is moving), and they don’t have any brakes (you slow yourself down and come to a stop by controlling the pressure on the pedals).
Anyone interested in riding on the track can also speak to our membership secretary, Stuart Wroot. Stuart has ridden at both Newport and Bournemouth and can offer help and guidance.
This is a traditional sport for the cyclist during the late autumn and early winter. Held on safe traffic free circuits these events are great fun, even for the youngest of riders. For beginners, a special cyclocross bike isn’t needed, as the vast majority of races can be ridden on a mountain bike.
There are two separate series of events, the South West Cyclocross League with races held in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall and the Wessex Cyclocross League with races held in Wiltshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire.
You can also find further details on the British Cycling web page.
Our General Secretary, Mark Plummer, is planning to ride some cyclocross events during the 2013/2014 season and is happy to give any advice and guidance.
Despite Yeovil Cycling Club being more orientated to road cycling we are currently very fortunate to have a couple of under 18 riders competing at national level in mountain bike cross country (XC) racing and enjoying success. We also have a former World Masters 24 hour Solo Enduro Champion, and British Cycling qualified coach, as a member of the club.
In Yeovil we are lucky to have lots of trails nearby for recreational riding. There is an active mountain bike racing scene in the South West region, with a good mix of Down Hill (DH) races, four cross (4X) and Cross Country (XC) races. A calendar all events and races available on the British Cycling website.
These are the two cycling discipline in which the club has the least experience. These two disciplines see races held around a purpose built outdoor tracks.
The ‘Club Finder’ search function on the British Cycling website shows BMX clubs in Bristol, Bath, Exeter, Bournemouth and Burnham in Somerset. The British Cycling website calendar shows regular races held by the Exeter Eagles BMX club.
There is Cycle Speedway club in Poole, the Poole Comets, who have a long history in the sport and are enjoying great success . There is a south west series of races that include races in Exeter, Poole and Newport.