Yesterday the Cycle Academy spent 2 hours at R-evolution HQ in Cottingham. We got involved with basic bike maintenance activities lead by Head Mechanic Oliver which was extremely useful as we are better prepared for problems with punctures, brakes and gears.
Afterwards the groups switched roles as we were in two groups and my group moved onto kit fitting. The kit looked really nice and I’m very much looking forward to wearing it out and about and at the launch at the Tour de Yorkshire on Saturday 4th May 2019. We tried on jerseys, bib shorts, gilets and jackets as well as helmets and shoes. Once shoe sizes had been sorted we moved onto practicing clipping into pedals which was challenging to begin with but with practice (I think I’ll be doing a lot of it) definitely becomes easier. We then met Hull Thursday Road Club and had a group photo with them. They have allowed us to borrow some bikes to help to get the Cycle Academy started.
There was a really good atmosphere at the session and I found it really good to continue to get to know everyone involved and it really put it into perspective how much R-evolution are putting into giving the Academy such an exclusive opportunity so I’d also like to say thank you everyone involved and I am excited about further sessions with the group and the exciting launch on Saturday 4th May in Bridlington!
It was some months ago when I was approached to be Head Coach for the new Cycle Academy. At the meeting I met John Marshall the CEO of R-evolution and Tim Pattle the Development Co-ordinator at their base in Cottingham, it was an ambitious and interesting project plan, to recruit a group of young riders and develop them physically and psychologically through a road based Cycle Academy. It was soon clear that we all had the same passion and enthusiasm to help young riders develop in the sport and I jumped at the offer to be involved.
So we fast forward to last night which was our fourth meeting for the academy riders and one where the team achieved their first goals as we ventured out from Beverley on the first team road ride. Up to this point the riders had spent three sessions at Ennerdale circuit on a closed circuit so that they were ready for the road so that they could be safe and efficient in their riding.
We met six riders yesterday in Beverley for the start of the ride consisting of 20 miles with just under 1000 foot of ascent, a route which had one significant climb up Stoneknowle hill out of North Newbald. Andy Cawley and I acted as the ride leaders and Tim Pattle drove the support and safety vehicle. The riders certainly performed better than we had anticipated, there were some strong efforts from the riders up the ascents and the group riding was very effective into the head winds. It allowed Andy and me to see first-hand where each rider was with their bike skills, fitness and team work. The riders finished the ride with a respectable average of 15 miles per hour.
One of things I always like to monitor when I am out with the Academy is the chatter and listening to ensure that riders are getting on with each other and there is a sense of fun in the team, we certainly had that last night and the humour was there throughout the ride (well apart from when everyone is pedalling hard to get to the top of any climbs). I was also pleased to hear riders appreciate the environment and there were comments on the local scenery and how nice the evening was and that’s one thing that makes this sport so different with such fantastic roads so close to nature and the countryside than some other sports and pastimes.
It’s been a superb start to the Cycle Academy and the riders have been a pleasure to coach and support, all the riders listen and soak up the advice. So keep up the good work team.
Finally, we cannot forget the excellent support that this Academy has, everyone involved, from Amy in the office doing the essential admin, Oliver for the mechanics on the bikes, Tim with his superb communication support and overall management, Andy (Coach and my wingman) and John for his constant drive and enthusiasm. It’s a great team!
In this session we worked on more group riding skills. We practiced riding at slow speed through an obstacle course made up of cones to help to develop our skills when riding on the road where there is traffic, junctions, people etc. I mainly ride a BMX so it was good to transfer some of those skills over to road riding.
We all had a go at a 1km time trial (we each had a turn at doing the fastest lap) which tested everyone's fitness and skill levels at high speed.
We also practiced more bike handling skills (i.e. riding one handed, drinking from a bottle, passing items to other riders).
We ended with a group race (3v3) where we decided on what tactics we would use to try and beat the other team. Looking forward to getting out on the road with the group next week!
Blog post by Alex White (Beverley Grammar)
I’ve been cycling for a number of years, either riding to school or with my family. I had high hopes of the R-evolution Cycling Academy and after the first couple of sessions it has definitely exceeded my expectations.
Everyone in the group is friendly and approachable. We have all been riding road bikes at Ennerdale Cycle Track and learning how to ride together as a group and building fitness – it really makes you appreciate how useful it is to work together as a team.
In cycling, you often ride or compete as an individual so it’s great to ride with like-minded individuals.
The coaches and volunteers are knowledgeable and approachable and get the best out of the group in every session. It’s great to be able to ride with and learn from such experienced cyclists.
We learn about different aspects of cycling (i.e. riding safely in a group, communication, positioning on the road, changing position, changing pace etc).
I’m excited to take part in future sessions to gain more experience and try out new skills.