British Cycling has announced the shortlist of nominations for its Local Cycling Heroes, a campaign to recognise the work done by cycling’s grassroots volunteers across the UK.
At the top of the British Cycling tree are the full-time coaches and administrators who run the organisation and spearhead efforts like the lottery-funded performance programme that has led to Olympic medals galore in recent years.
But without the broad base of volunteers at the grassroots running clubs, marshalling races, helping out at Sky rides, using cycling to build stronger communities, getting more women and disabled people on bikes, and coaching youngsters, there would be no pinnacle for prospective Olympians to aspire to.
From almost one hundred entries, British Cycling has shortlisted 24 volunteers who each play a pivotal role in their communities by inspiring others to get the most out of their bike riding.
One rider who understands the importance of volunteers is double track world champion Becky James. Her family had their hands full caring for her severely disabled sister Bethan.
“Volunteers are essential to cycling in this country,” she says. “Without them we wouldn’t have a sport and we certainly wouldn’t have Olympic and World Champions. I know how much volunteers have helped my career, so it's great to see so many people being recognised for giving up their time for cycling. I'd urge everyone to get behind their Local Cycling Heroes and vote!”
Local Cycling Heroes will be selected from the 24 nominees by popular vote on the SkyRide website. Voting closes on Friday August 30. The individuals with the most votes will be crowned British Cycling’s Local Cycling Hero for their region and win prizes including VIP tickets to the National Track Championships in Manchester in November.
North West region
Sue Blaylock: accessible cycling champion
Sandra Green: inspiring women to take up cycling
Peter Ward: driving force behind an impressive cycle route
Yorkshire and North East region
Naz Ali: using cycling to make a difference to communities
Bill Cheadle: helping cycling stars excel
Rob Mawhood: changing the face of cycle speedway
Carl Lane: determined club supporter and motivator
Rich Latimer: trail builder extraordinaire
John McCracken: promoting cycling skills and confidence
Maryam Amatullah: challenging perceptions about women’s cycling
Ian McFadyen: charity cyclist and ride leader
Richard Smith: a leading light in transplant cycling
Central & East region
Ralph Bagge: committed Ride Leader & infrastructure campaigner
Lyn Gilbert: cycle training superstar
Roy Pink: bike repairer and enthusiast
Paulo Cotrim: helping kids from all backgrounds get into BMX
Spencer Harradine: coach, organiser & advocate
Tony Harvey: making inclusive cycling a reality in East London
South East region
Annette Covey: disability cycling champion
Tom Morton: first class club cycling supporter
Shaun Reed: inspiring young people to get into cycling
South / South West / Wales region
Michele Radant: on a mission to get Devon cycling
Paul Smith: inspirational charity cyclist
John Wheat: enthusiastic social ride organiser
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.