The UK's governing body for all things cycling-related British Cycling has launched Go-Ride Racing, a new scheme designed to encourage more young people into entry-level bike racing. This latest addition to Go-Ride, the existing cycling development initiative for young people, provides a stepping-stone between school or club cycle coaching sessions and regional level cycling competitions.
British Cycling feels that many young riders find it daunting to enter their first race and compete against more experienced riders who are often equipped with the latest bikes and specialist equipment. Go-Ride Racing offers riders under the age of 16 the opportunity to compete in a real race environment against cyclists of the same age and ability. Once novice racers have gained confidence, they are encouraged to make the step up to open regional competition.
Parents, too, who have no experience of the British Cycling club system will probably benefit more than anyone because it appears to offer a way-in, knowing that other parents and their aspiring young racers will be in it together.
Sponsored by satellite TV company Sky, the same outfit behind Bradley Wiggins' Team Sky who are just about to start the Giro d'Italia, the new programme will provide over 10,000 racing opportunities for youngsters with over 400 Go-Ride Racing events across all six cycling disciplines - Closed Road Circuit, Grass Track, Cross-Country Mountain Bike, BMX, Cyclo-Cross and Cycle Speedway.
Last year Sky and British Cycling launched Sky Ride, a series of mass participation cycling events encouraging people of all ages and abilities to enjoy fun, traffic free rides in Britain’s major cities. Go-Ride Racing will appeal to many of the youngsters first introduced to cycling at a Sky Ride event, creating a new pathway into the sport for young people.
Go-Ride Racing events will be organised nationwide by volunteers from Go-Ride clubs and full time British Cycling Go-Ride coaches. Through the programme, cycling clubs will receive kit and prizes for events and access to advice from British Cycling regional development staff.
John Mills, Coaching, Education and Development Director at British Cycling, said: "Entry level competition is fundamental to the introduction of young riders to competitive cycling and the launch of Go-Ride Racing will have a huge impact on the accessibility of the sport nationally.
“Thanks to the additional support from Sky we are able to provide Go-Ride clubs with everything they need to organise local events which will help us to develop the first tier of a more accessible youth competition pathway.”
Corin Dimopoulos, Sky’s Director of Cycling, added: “We support cycling from the playground to the podium, and our grassroots initiative Sky Ride not only aims to get one million more people on their bikes by 2013, but to build a legacy that inspires young riders. Go-Ride Racing will give young people the best chance of becoming the next generation of cycling stars.”