Henlow Youth cycling was born from an idea of giving young cycle racers somewhere to transfer their skills between their off-road and road season. We have a small but technical road circuit that is provided to us by RAF Henlow, it’s a fantastic facility that we have and unlike anything else locally. We also have room for younger riders to hone their skills. During the winter we have use of an off-road area that we use to teach Cyclocross skills.
What started out with a mere 6-10 attendees has steadily grown to over 30 children attending each session. Starting off with 1 British Cycling level 2 coach and a level 1 coach we have continued to develop not only the children but also the parents, we now have 5 level 2 trained coaches.
We have children from the age of 5 who have recently learned to ride through to 16-year olds that are racing at county and national levels. Our group provides coaching for a few clubs in the area, we have children that represent Hitchin Nomads, Icknield road club, Milton Keynes CC and plenty of children that just want to ride their bikes in a non-competitive environment.
We teach children the fundamentals of cycling, everything from pedalling and braking all the way through to gear selection and cornering techniques. During the summertime we will concentrate on road riding, and during the winter we will move onto the grass, this is more difficult for the younger ones, but they soon get to grips with it. It also means that we don’t have to cancel sessions due to water laying on the circuit. All the children are encouraged, but not forced to race at the winter muddy monsters’ series that is organised by British cycling and hosted by various clubs from the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire areas. These events allow them to put into practice the skills they have learnt.
With RAF Henlow set to close in the next few years we would love to have secured a training area that would mean the legacy of RAF Henlow and what it has provided to the local area could continue to operate. We hope to find a local company or individual who could help us approach the local councils to show the work we are doing with the community, in the hope that they may be able to provide us somewhere, this is a long way off yet but there’s no reason not to plan for the future!
To find out more, please get in touch via our Facebook page: Youth cycling @ RAF Henlow