British Cycling Go-Ride coach, Nathaniel Martin, in partnership with Access Sport, is leading the development of Go-Ride BMX clubs in London. BMX in the capital has never been in better shape and Nathaniel shares with us why the future is very bright for London’s BMX cyclists.
When Nathaniel started out on his BMX as a young child, there were just four BMX clubs from London to Bournemouth. Years later, when construction of the multi-million pound BMX facility began at the Olympic Park in Stratford, there was not a single BMX club or track in any of the five host boroughs. This has all changed, however, since Access Sport’s award-winning BMX Legacy programme kicked off in the capital and expanded BMX throughout the London boroughs. Now, there are fifteen clubs in London alone, with more in the surrounding counties.
Nathaniel said: “It’s so different from when I was growing up; it’s improved so much over the past five to 10 years. The Olympics has really helped. We have more Go-Ride BMX clubs and tracks than ever before, which gives more opportunities for new and existing riders to try out the sport in a safe environment.”
Since February 2011, Access Sport’s unique model for community club development, drawing on the many benefits of sport to unite communities and improve health, has engaged over 5,000 young people in London with BMX and encouraged them to become members of clubs. Nathaniel predicts a positive future for BMX in London, with continuous growth due to the unique appeal of the sport to younger and more diverse communities.
As part of his role as Go-Ride Coach, Nathaniel has started four new BMX clubs in West London and been instrumental in the opening of two new BMX Tracks. The clubs – Tottenham Bike Club, Brent BMX, Hammersmith and Fulham BMX and Ealing BMX – have gone from strength to strength and despite only being open for a few months, collective membership is now over 100.
Nathaniel said: “It’s just crazy how popular BMX has become. More and more people are coming to BMX Go-Ride clubs and now we need to recruit and train more volunteers to keep up with the demand.”
London is fast becoming a hotbed for the sport of BMX and the London Series is giving riders the chance to impress, meaning champions of the future may emerge. The capital has already started to develop extremely talented riders. Go-Ride ambassador and recent bronze medallist at the UCI World Championships in Rotterdam, Tre Whyte, and 2012 junior world champion, Quillan Isidore, both hail from Peckham BMX Go-Ride Club. Nathaniel is busy supporting clubs with entering into the London series, showing them the benefits of regular competition and taking riders through competition-specific skills, so they can emulate Tre and Quillan.
Nathaniel said: “The standard is getting pushed up all the time. More BMXers are riding more often and they’re pushing each other, which drives up the standard. The competition is good, I’ve seen riders who could be European, World or Olympic champions.”
If you would like to support the growth of BMX in London through volunteering, or would like to find out more about volunteering elsewhere, please get in touch with the Go-Ride team.
To find a club near you, visit www.britishcycling.org.uk/clubfinder