Winchester South Park and Ride Cycle Track was officially launched to local cycling enthusiasts on Sunday 17 November.
Cllr Rob Humby, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Sport at Winchester City Council, officially opened the facility, in front of over 60 cyclists aged six to 80, Council officers, Councillors and sporting partners from the Winchester District.
Andy Hargroves, winner of this year’s Winchester Criterium, assisted with the ceremonial ribbon cutting. Andy rides for Felt Colbournes Hargroves and represented Great Britain at the European Cyclocross Championships in 2011 and 2012. He also represented Great Britain at the World Cup Cyclocross races in 2012 and has five wins for Felt in the 2013 season.
Throughout the day, British Cycling’s Regional Development Manager for the South, Mark Adams, also helped with the running of a number of Go-Ride races for a group of enthusiastic young riders who were keen to make the most of the facility. The races showed the future potential of the new track and the positive effect it will have for young people who come to use it.
Prior to Winchester City Council gaining planning permission to use this site permanently as a cycle track, the car park had been used by British Cycling and Go-Ride club, VC Venta, on a temporary basis for activities such as Go-Ride skill sessions and introductory racing.
It was Go-Ride activities like these that enabled Winchester City Council to obtain planning permission for the development of the track - demonstrating the great benefits the new track will have for young people in the community.
Cllr Humby thanked all partners involved in the project, including British Cycling, VC Venta and Hampshire County Council, as well as officers at Winchester City Council. He added: “We know that this facility has already offered VC Venta a platform to develop the club, which has grown from 40 members to a staggering 215 members over the last 12 months. The growth in junior membership has resulted in oversubscribed sessions and the club is in the process of training more coaches to support the numbers.”
Over the next few months, VC Venta will be running an ‘Intro to Cycling’ session every six weeks, open to all young riders who are keen to have a go at cycling.
In the spring, British Cycling’s Go-Ride programme will be hosting Rider Development Sessions for U23s at the facility, linked with Southampton University and Colleges in the local area. There will also be women and girl’s-only sessions run on a regular basis for novice and experienced riders. For more information about activities occurring at the track, please keep an eye on the British Cycling events page here.
To find out more about the Go-Ride programme nationally, please visit www.britishcycling.org.uk/go-ride.