Inverurie cycling team looking to sustain growth
INVERURIE-based cycling club Team Ecosse Northboats (TEN) are optimistic about the future of the sport with participation on the rise.
More female and youth riders have represented the club during the past year, featuring at the likes of Etape Caledonia and Loch Ness, Ride the North, and the Great Inverurie Bike Ride.
Almost one-third of their 133 members are women - a figure that is well above the Scottish Cycling national level.
Meanwhile the Tour of Britain professional road race, which heads to the North-east later this year, is set to provide a significant boost for public interest in cycling.
And TEN chairman Pete Lowson says it is an ideal time to capitalise on the growth of cycling by increasing youth participation within their own club.
“We have varied our Saturday morning coaching locations, from Inverurie to Kintore and Bennachie, including an outing to Tarland, and have a full complement of 22 youngsters attending every week, with a waiting list for places on subsequent courses.
“Spaces are limited by the number of qualified coaches we have available (currently four) but we are actively involved in training more youth coaches so that we can accommodate more youngsters at our sessions.
“We had more than 100 youngsters take part in the fun races we organised as part of the 2019 Great Inverurie Bike Ride so there’s no doubt the demand is there.”
The increase in membership has boosted the club's coffers, with profits being put to good use through coach training and events, while plans are in place to purchase new equipment and a pop-up gazebo for exhibitions.
TEN also organised two hugely successful regional road events last year, including a 10km time trial and 50km road race.
The club's chair also paid tribute to member Lucy Ritchie, who completed the 2150 miles of the Tour de France route last summer, with each stage taking place a day ahead of the professional men's race.
“It was a fantastic effort,” said Pete. “When I travelled to Inverurie’s twin town of Bagneres de Bigorre in the Pyrenees to see her at the halfway point in the Tour, the temperature topped 40 degrees celsius.
"Riding in such conditions took immense fitness, skill and commitment.”
TEN have been a fixture in Garioch since 2014 and Pete stressed that the club is open to all.
“Our club ethos is to have more emphasis on the social than the competitive and we’d love to hear from anyone who would like to take up or rediscover this healthy and enjoyable activity", he said.
"They will receive a very warm welcome from us.”
At the recent AGM in the Drouthy Laird, Jim Ross received the Club Member of the Year award.
Charlie Lumsden was crowned Youth Rider of the Year, and Josh Sharp hailed as Race Time Rider for 2019 after a successful year on the circuit.