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Eastlands Velo and Sportcity Velo are youth/junior cycling clubs based at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester. Our main activity is track cycling, though we also do mountain biking, closed circuit racing and cyclo cross. We run weekly track sessions for first-claim club members at the Manchester velodrome (National Cycling Centre) for youth and junior riders from beginner level upwards. Over the years our members have included Olympic gold medallists Jason Kenny (2012 match sprint Gold and team sprint Gold), Steven Burke (team pursuit Gold), and Simon and Adam Yates (road race stars from the Tour of Turkey and the Tour de France). Jason joined the club in 2000, and Steven arrived in 2002. Both moved on to Sportcity Velo, winning national titles there and then on to the British Cycling talent programme. Twin brothers Simon and Adam joined the club in 2004, and both made their mark in major road races in 2014; they are currently riding for the Orica-BikeExchange cycling team. This year Adam became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France's white jersey as best young rider, finishing in fourth place in the overall classification. In all, eight former Eastlands Velo riders are now in the GB Team - details on the GB Team page of the BC website.
Beginners – Everyone starts at our Monday evening beginners session, which is also open to non-members. This is for riders from 10 to 15 years of age and runs every Monday (except Bank Holidays) from 6pm to 7pm.
It is for all riders who are new to track cycling or who haven’t previously ridden on an Eastlands Velo session. The aim at this level is to teach riders the basic skills and techniques they need to ride safely and confidently with others on the track. The session focuses on riders learning these bike-handling skills in a fun and supportive environment, then getting the chance to progress to track racing and more advanced skills on our Saturday session. To advance a rider from Monday to Saturday, the coaches need to be sure that he or she has developed the necessary skills, awareness and fitness. Coaches will monitor each rider’s progress and assess them for Saturdays. Cyclists join the Monday session at different levels of ability, fitness and experience, so it is impossible to say how long it will be before someone is ready for this first accreditation, but normally we would expect a rider to complete at least four Monday sessions before being accredited.
Intermediate – Once riders have learned basic track cycling skills on Mondays, the next step is our Saturday morning session. Saturday and Wednesdays are Club sessions and in order to take part in these you need to be a first claim member of either Eastlands or Sportcity Velo. You can join at your first session (download membership form from this website) or online through British Cycling. If you are already a British Cycling member you will need to get your licence amended to show Eastlands/Sportcity as your first claim club. The Saturday session runs from 8am to 11am; it aims to develop a rider's track cycling ability, including the skills and confidence needed to race competitively and safely. Progression through the Saturday sessions leads to full Track Accreditiation, enabling youth riders to take part in track racing leagues, such as the ACT Monday night track league. While the emphasis is on developing track cycling skills, riders must also have an appropriate level of physical fitness. Regular participation in the sessions will help develop this but we advise riders to take part in regular cycling activity away from the track in order to build fitness to start racing. While we do not provide individual coaching our club coaches are always happy to advise riders and parents on appropriate training. Please note that the maximum gear allowed on our Saturday session is 81".
The fee for Saturday and Wednesday sessions is £8 (Discounted to £6 for Manchester residents*), bike hire included. Before you come to this session, you must have completed the Monday beginner’s course.
Advanced – Wednesdays from 6pm to 8pm. Invitation only for first-claim riders who are actively competing, progressing from Saturdays. Wednesday sessions are challenging right from the warm-up and teach riders advanced techniques and develop fitness and stamina. Wednesday sessions are often targeted at specific skills, for example sprint sessions or Madison racing. Riders should be taking part in other regular cycling activity in order to develop their all round fitness. These sessions are restricted to fully accredited riders, subject to invitation by the club coaches. As with Saturday sessions, the fee is £8 (discounted to £6 for Manchester residents*).
Bikes - Riders are welcome to use their own track bikes at Eastlands Velo sessions, or to use one of the NCC Dolan bikes. Eastlands Velo also has a limited number of bikes which can be allocated to riders at Coaches' discretion, after they have completed Track Accreditiation, to take part in racing events. Any rider wishing to take a bike onto the track which they have not previously ridden, should speak to Eastlands Velo Coaches beforehand. For information on track bike specification or gearing restrictions, please see Useful Documents.
*Manchester residents include any household who pay council tax to Manchester City Council.
For information on track sessions for over 15s or for other youth cycling sessions, visit http://nationalcyclingcentre.com.
Track photos coutesy of Alan Croston.
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