The Hatch Warren and Beggarwood Cycling Club recently signed up its one hundredth member – after less than a year of being active.
The club came about when Immanuel Church organised an event for the community to ask key members what they wanted from the church. Chris Healey, a local resident asked if there could be a community cycling club. Vicar, the Revd Michael Smith organised meetings with Chris and others who expressed an interest and the club was born.
Chris says; ‘we have a successful, local, running club, but there are lots of people I know who aren’t runners but have a bike in their garage that they don’t use or want to use more. I thought that a cycling club for the community would help build community spirit and be a sociable and fun thing to do. With the help of Michael and others we’ve had success that I just couldn’t have imagined.’
The club first met in September, with just twenty local cyclists attending the first ride. However, successful efforts from the founders to reach out to the wider community mean that the club now has five times as many members.
The success of the club has not gone unnoticed, and it is now officially affiliated with British Cycling, the national governing body for all cycle sport in the UK. The club offers its members branded kit and has also begun organising a series of social events with the local community including bank holiday rides, a Christmas lunch and, most recently, a well-attended summer picnic.
Commenting, the Revd Michael Smith said: “We started this cycling club as a way of reaching out to the local community and getting people together. I’m thrilled with the success that we’ve had so far and hope that the club will go from strength to strength.
“We aim to offer something for everyone by providing a variety of different bike rides each week which range in distance and speed, and we also offer a monthly 8 mile ride for beginners. We want the club to be something that everybody in the community can get involved in if they want and are currently recruiting a welfare officer so that members under the age of 18 can join in.
“I’m delighted that the club has proved so successful in bringing together members of the community and offering them a fun and social way to be active”