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Colchester Rovers Youth on track…Grass Track. June 29, 2011

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Recently I have been going to see Colchester Rovers at their Monday evening Grass Track sessions, held at the back of the Sports Centre on Boadicea way. I was amazed by the number of young people racing around the grass 400m Running Track.

The Grass Track is a brilliant sport to introduce the younger cyclist too. All you need for a ‘Blue Peter’ Style make your own Grass Track Club is one Grass Running Track, a collection of willing participants and some bikes. It really is that simple. Grass Track is just racing around a standard running track something that nearly every school has access too. Some Tracks like the one that Colchester rovers use are 400m long others are much shorter it doesn’t matter! It is one of cycling’s purist forms.

Grass Track Racing is often ridden with a ‘Fixed-Wheel’ Bike, but, any bike can be used to start off with. A ‘fixed-wheel’ Bike is similar to the sort that Sir Chris Hoy would use, but with tyres that look more like a Mountain Bikes, with tread, enabling the rider to achieve grip on the grass. Colchester Rovers have a collection of these bikes in a range of sizes so that anyone can have a go. They have no gears, no brakes and you cannot stop pedalling them but they are great ‘pure’ fun when your master them.

It was great to go along this Monday evening and watch all the excited young people racing around and around until they were dizzy. Full credit must go to Colchester Rovers for their excellent management and running of their training sessions; enthusiastic coaches and lovely tea in the club room afterwards!

Go along and give it a go, have an enjoyable and active time, meet new friends and get involved with a fantastic sport.

I look forward to seeing you there, if you want to find out how your School can start Grass track racing phone me on 07825 908 336 or e-mail me on alex.wise@virginmedia.com


Radical Bikes grows bigger stronger and better June 29, 2011

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Recently my CTC Colchester colleague Richard Monk and I visited Radical Bikes, Chelmsford (www.radicalbikes.co.uk ). Once again we were blown away by the Centre for Trials and Jump Riding. There is no better facility in the East of England.

Richard Monk has only visited once before, in the very outset of Radical Bikes, when it was just a few lumps and bumps. He was blown away by its transformation! It is now a large facility that boosts a range of challenging Trials routes. The most challenging would push a top National Trials Rider, while for a rider as incompetent at Trials riding as Richard or I, can start on something much less scary; improving our skills with the expert tuition of Radical’s in – house coach. There is also a full Pump Track to practice Bike Handling Skills or warm up on,
leaving you ready to go and enjoy the Half Pipe that is just next door to it. Or have fun getting ‘air’ on the Table – Top Jumps that they have on site. Again, like the Trials Courses there is something for everyone and you can learn step by step how to take bigger jumps and get better at ‘tricks’.
Radical bikes are open regularly throughout the summer months and I would advise going along and having a ride, whatever your level is! They are also organising their inaugural ‘Radfest’; a two day festival of Trials and Jump Riding, culminating in a round of the ‘National Trials Championships’.

Given how much the site improves each time that I visit this amazing group, I cannot imagine what I will see next time I visit.


COLCHESTER is to host a top cycling race this summer. May 11, 2011

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The Halfords Tour Series, which attracts some of the world’s greatest cycling stars, has confirmed it will return for a day of fast-paced competition. Teams of professional cyclists will go head-to-head on a circuit around the town centre streets on June 2.
Community leaders said it will provide a huge economic opportunity and have predicted it will attract thousands of spectators. A programme of family events and activities is also being planned in Castle Park before the race.

The Tour Series was last held in Colchester in 2009. Since then, the town has hosted the Tour of Britain, and talks are continuing about whether that will return next year.
Paul Smith, Colchester councillor responsible for resources, said: “We are excited and thrilled once again to deliver this spectacular event, free, for the enjoyment of residents and visitors.
“It will also provide a huge boost for Colchester’s businesses, with community events being planned throughout the day to celebrate.

“Healthy living for all is one of our key priorities and we are hoping world-class events like this on our doorstep will inspire younger and older people alike to get involved.
“This is a real opportunity for us to celebrate Colchester as a place where people want to live, work and visit.”

The circuit is expected to follow the same route as before, starting in High Street, then heading along Head Street, St John’s Street, into Osborne Street and up Queen Street.
Stephen Castle, Essex county councillor responsible for education and the 2012 Games said: “Essex County Council is passionate about promoting the benefits of cycling, so we are proud to be supporting the return of the Tour Series to Colchester in 2011.

“As we prepare to host the London 2012 Olympic mountain biking events, we are committed to inspiring our residents.”

The tour will be televised on ITV4.

Alex Wise
Bike Club Development Officer for Colchester, Cambridge and Southend-On-Sea
07825 908 336