British Cycling held its gala awards tonight at the Hilton Metropole hotel in Birmingham. Before the main awards, John Mills, British Cycling's Director of Coaching, Education and Development, revealed that the Bike Hub levy fund would be supporting the Go Ride children's development program run by British Cycling.
The Bike Hub support takes the form of Bicycle Association becoming an official partner of British Cycling’s Go-Ride. The Go-Ride programme provides a fun and safe way for young people to experience cycle sport, with over 300 Go-Ride Clubs in communities across the country. The funding commitment from the Bicycle Association will help to extend the reach of the Go-Ride programme and provide even more opportunities for young people to sample the various cycle sport disciplines.
The cycle industry’s Bike Hub levy fund, led by the Bicycle Association, has been raising funds to safeguard the future of cycling since 2004. In December, the Bicycle Association supported London Cycling Campaign's space4cycling campaign with a contribution of £25,000.
Phillip Darnton, the Bicycle Association’s executive director, said: “It’s crucial that young people are given the opportunity to learn to ride their bikes safely and well, and to have fun doing so. If children don’t have the chance to learn by their early teens, they will probably never cycle in their lives. That’s why the Bicycle Association is so pleased to support British Cycling and its Go Ride programme, and to become the Industry Sponsor of British Cycling.
“Go Ride is the perfect way of engaging with thousands of youngsters across the UK, in their local communities, and inspiring them to enjoy cycling, reinforcing what is an essential life skill. Some of these youngsters, of course, will go on to become the medal winners of the future."
The Go-Ride programme provides the first step onto the Olympic Talent Development programme, with over 60 percent of the current funded riders on the Great Britain Cycling Team having progressed from Go-Ride Clubs.
John Mills, said: “We are thrilled to receive funding and support from the cycle industry, which will further strengthen the programme and help us to provide more opportunities for the next generation of cyclists.”
Over the past 10 years, Bike Hub has donated over £2.5 million to Sustrans, specifically to create, grow and maintain the Bike It Schools programme. Bike It was devised by the Bicycle Association in conjunction with Paul Osborne of Sustrans in 2004. By 2011 there were 150 Bike It officers involved with almost 2,000 schools each year – and in all over 20,000 pupils, mainly in years 5 and 6, learnt the pleasures of cycling.
"The original aim of Bike Hub was to safeguard the future of cycling by helping to fund ideas and projects which would get more children on bikes safely and learning to enjoy the fun of cycling," said Darnton.
"The 10 year long investment in Bike It has done this most effectively. We now consider that it is time for the Bike Hub programme to enter a new phase and a new project. Becoming the Industry Partner of British Cycling and its Go Ride programme will support over 300 Go Ride clubs. Local independent bike retailers in their local community will all be linked into the project.
"British Cycling will also be giving Bike Hub contributors opportunities to see their work for themselves, whether at the Velodrome, at special events and in local activities in their communities. This is a very exciting new phase for Bike Hub and the cycle industry."
At tonight's awards there were many youngsters present, which bodes well for the health of cycling in the UK, said Darnton.
"Watching all the videos tonight shows that Go Ride delivers fun in spades, is inspiring and gives kids something to aim for."
Present at the event were former riders Victoria Pendleton, Roger Hammond and Rob Hayles, all of whom were inducted into British Cycling's Hall of Fame. Other inductees tonight, although not present, included Sir Chris Hoy, new UCI president Brian Cookson and Nicole Cooke.
There were videos of British Cycling successes in 2013 and from a wide range of disciplines, including road, MTB, cyclo cross, track, cycle speedway, and BMX.
Also present at the gala dinner was Brian Robinson, first Briton to win a stage of the Tour de France. He's now 83, and still riding.
A fuller report on tonight's announcement from the Bicycle Association will be published in BikeBiz magazine.
PIC: MC for the evening Ned Boulting, glad-handing Phillip Darnton and John Mills.