Coming to a close on Sunday 20 March in Coventry, the 2016 Go-Ride Conference series welcomed nearly 500 attendees across six events.
Now in their tenth year, the conferences provide volunteers from Go-Ride Clubs with a place to meet with the wider Go-Ride network from their region while gaining updates and training opportunities from the central team.
The conference roadshow visited Durham, Manchester, Reading, Bexleyheath, Taunton and Coventry, bringing with it a team of development staff with support from the coaching and education team and National Youth Representatives. On show were a variety of bikes from those used by Blue Peter presenters Barney and Radzi during their track cycling challenge, through to a handcycle and tandem.
After an opening address from regional development managers and John Mills, director of coaching, education and development, attendees broke out into separate workshops relevant to their club role. For club welfare officers and coaches, club volunteers and new young volunteers, there were exercises and discussions to challenge practices and promote development.
Inside the coaching workshop
Volunteer coaches were asked to use their smartphones to vote on a series of questions and delve into the coaching environment. With the results collated and presented back during the afternoon session, huge gains were made in understanding different coaching approaches and identifying the value of competition to developing riders.
Speaking of the exercise, development manager Rob Mace said:
“Using the voting app really went down well and it was so valuable to collect feedback from the volunteer coaches actively working in our 300 Go-Ride Clubs. The workshop questions also created a lot of brilliant conversation and we learnt about some fantastic initiatives going on within the club network.”
One delegate commented: "I was very impressed with the conference. The workshop provided a great opportunity to learn from both British Cycling and other coaches and there are lots of things to think about and implement back in my club."
With networking over lunch and the afternoon sessions complete, attendees joined together one final time to hear the nominations for the Go-Ride Awards and congratulate the winners. Over 50 awards were given out, recognising individual commitment, club development and attainment of Clubmark.
Athletes from the Great Britain Cycling Team Academy attended their local conferences to present winners with their awards and prizes, highlighting the pathway from playground to podium. Representatives from the National Youth Forum also played a major part, delivering parts of the conference and running a crossword competition throughout the day.
Summing up the six events, John Mills said:
“This year’s conferences have been a huge success and it’s great to see the format developing annually to meet the needs of our growing workforce. The team have once again created six engaging events, working closely with regional staff to make the most of what really are key dates for us at the beginning of every year.”