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Junior Focus

posted 4 Aug 2010, 02:08 by Kevin Monaghan
Last Monday evening there were over fifty kids signed on in Belvedere House and Gardens for another of the fortnightly, junior sessions. This element of the club is growing at an extremely rapid pace and is a reflection of the work and commitment being put in to this section by our Youth Officer, Michelle Culligan who is ably assisted by Robbie Kenny and their loyal team of club members and parents who turn up regularly and give assistance.
To put this event into perspective, these sessions are attracting numbers which, on one night during the summer saw over eighty kids sign on. They are divided by Michelle and Robbie into several different age groups and are coached in a very informal and fun way. Some of the older kids get to try the various trails on their mountain bikes and are taught how to handle their bikes going downhill, riding in rough terrain or short races. There is even a group for those who are still on stabilisers, which has up to twelve participants and is truly pioneering stuff as I don’t believe any other cycling club in Ireland caters for this age group.
We have recently purchased an obstacle course that Robbie lays out, and in turns, the different groups get to test themselves through the cones, the snake run and the most popular section, the limbo poles. The younger ones on stabilisers are taught simple rules of the road as well as how to do things like one handed cycling, and the very difficult but hilarious to watch, slow bike race. These disciplines are fantastic for teaching the kids good balance and bike handling skills and all in a relaxed and fun environment.

This area of club development has being on going for the last three years and although slow at first the junior section is really beginning to produce talented bike riders. Alongside the kiddies we have older teenagers who are training twice weekly over the summer and are now regulars at our race league in Dysart and some of them will even be taking part in the National Youth Championships in the coming weeks.
In tandem with all of this we are seeing an increasing number of people joining up who are in the early twenties age group so we are now beginning to fill the age gaps. This can only be positive for both the leisure and racing sections of Lakeside Wheelers and although the younger ones may not realise it just yet, the future of our club lies in their hands... and feet!!!

Some of the younger Wheelers at Belvedere on Monday evening...