There was already had a small cycling club based at Hillingdon cycling circuit, the Slipstreamers, but an £8000 grant from the Community Cycling Fund for London allowed the group to expand beyond their wildest dreams, involving hundreds more local adults and children.
The club now provides healthy and competitive outdoor fun for many local families, including those with special needs children, and it has motivated parents to volunteer thousands of hours of time to the community and many to become regulars on bikes themselves.
Club leader John Gunn said, “Our dream was to make the club totally inclusive, so under-fives and children with physical or mental special needs could join in too.
The demand was there, and so were the volunteers. All we needed was more equipment and training for the coaches.”
Using Hillingdon Circuit as a safe teaching environment, the club teaches children of all ages to ride safely and responsibly.
Once cycling confidently, the kids try more challenging disciplines such as circuit racing, mountain biking and cyclocross, perhaps helping to nurture a new generation of Olympic cycling champs.
The club invited all the local schools to be part of the club, which meant they’ve worked with parents, teachers and pupils to plan the right training for all the kids, especially those with special needs.
To keep the kids motivated, the club introduced an awards system, so individuals are encouraged to work towards particular goals.
The club now has over 100 new members, and 50 volunteers to help run track sessions and leisure rides.
Parents are encouraged to attend family sessions, so they can benefit from improved fitness too, and many have started to use bikes regularly.
Slipstreamers were awarded the prestigious Mayor’s Award for Active Transport in 2010.
(The other winner that year was also a project funded by our community cycling team.)