Representatives of local cycling groups say they can’t get access to the Lee Valley Velopark’s tracks because too much time is being allocated to companies running corporate events.
The Olympic legacy facility is due to be fully open to the public on March 31 and will offer a one-mile road circuit, mountain bike course, BMX track and the indoor velodrome that’s been nicknamed the Pringle thanks to its distinctive shape.
But according to Cycling Weekly, local cycling groups have been unable to book the facilities because of demand from companies offering corporate sessions.
Michael Humphreys, from the Eastway Users Group, told the Star: “It’s like we’d been campaigning to get a theatre built so your local amateur dramatics actors could get on stage but the people who were supposed to go on the stage don’t get a look-in.”
Three companies, FACE Partnership, Cavendish Group and Rampage Event Management/Velo Events, were selected to run track days at the park. Velo Events estimates it will be able to use the velodrome exclusively for four full days a month, while the Cavendish Group has obtained two full days a month and FACE Partnership expects to use rthe velodrome for one of two days per month.
Locals clubs claim that communication has been difficult with Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA), the body that runs the facility.
Bruce Mackie from Lee Valley Youth Cycle Club said: “It does seem to me that the demand will be from those who can foot the biggest bill.”
The LVRPA denied corporate clients were taking precedence over grassroots clubs.
A spokesman said: “Our programming includes 40% of clubs and schools sessions, 55% for the public and only 5% is allocated to corporate events.
“We have worked closely with local clubs and the cycling community as a whole to ensure a well-balanced programme, which is unbiased and fair for all.
“Yes, we have corporate clients and events, however the money earned from these clients is put back into the venue.”
The first major event to be hosted at the velodrome will be the final the FACE Partnership’s Revolution track series on March 14-15. Olympic track champions Laura Trott, Jason Kenny and Ed Clancy will all race along with current National Road Race champion and Olympic silver medalist Lizzie Armitstead.
The following month, the venue will host the Bespoked handmade bicycle show, which moves for from Bristol for 2014 and takes place over the weekend of April 11-13.
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.