A London-based cycling coach has been named UK participation coach of the year at the 2010 UK coaching awards, held at the Brewery, London. Brian Wright, a 69 year-old level-2 qualified club road and time-trial coach, and level-2 track coach, received the award in recognition of his commitment to grass-roots cycling and unstinting efforts in the community.
Although soon to enter his eighth decade, Brian maintains a great enthusiasm for cycling and plans to continue his work for a while yet, telling the assembled audience that “I’ve got the bit between my teeth”, after receiving the award.
Over the past 12 years Brian has played a central role in first forming the Hillingdon Slipstreamers, then establishing them as one of the leading junior cycling clubs in London, aiming to provide coaching in all cycling disciplines to children up to the age of 16 in a safe, traffic-free environment.
The club offers coaching sessions in track cycling and mountain biking, and meets every Saturday morning between 10-12.30 a.m. at the Hillingdon Cycle Circuit in Minet Park, Hayes, reflecting Brian’s commitment to widening access to the sport and encouraging new participants.
More recently Brian has been working to develop the skills of younger cyclists, using British Cycling’s Go-Ride programme at Field End Junior School, while he also works with women and girls at the Minet Ladies Cycling Club.
A significant number of the women are new to cycling, and there is a diverse mix of cultural backgrounds, but Brian has worked hard to develop their skills and enthusiasm for the sport through regular training, right up to more targeted programmes for specific events. This can include competitive events, but are more typically charity rides or sportive challenges.
Brian puts the same energy and commitment into encouraging the younger generation.
He established an after-school cycling club at Field End School and his efforts led to the recent completion of a 340-metre cycling circuit on-site, which is already being used for inter-school competitions.
Testament to the impact of Brian’s work is that Field End now has an established Go-Ride after school club. This might seem more than enough for one man but Brian is already busy planning further improvements, including establishing the school as a centre of excellence through extending the current facilities, such as mechanical workshops and changing rooms.
The man himself reacted with pleasure after receiving the award. “It was just so nice. I felt as though what I had been doing was really worthwhile and it made it feel important. I’m chafing at the bit, I just want to do more. I want to put 100 per cent back into it now,” he told British Cycling.
The organisation’s Coaching, Education and Development Director John Mills said the award was well deserved. “It really is superb that Brian’s efforts have been recognised with this award,” he commented.
“He works tirelessly at Hillingdon Slipstreamers, Field End Junior School and Minet ladies club to introduce young people and newcomers to cycling and develop their skills through hands-on coaching and expert tuition.
"His enthusiasm, innovation and determination are nothing short of remarkable and exemplify British Cycling’s ideals for sustainable development in the sport through strengthening school and community links. It was an honour to be able to nominate him and share in his joy on the night,” he added.