Milford Tritons Cycling Club Secretary, Jeff Arnold, gives an insight on how the club was formed, its growth and plans for the future. A great source of information for new clubs in Wales.
Now in the second year of existence, the club has been amazed at the growth rate of membership, from a meeting back in July 2013 attended by approximately 20 people, officers and committee were elected and the Tritons story began.
In the beginning
As with most clubs the kit is always a hot topic of discussion and after it was designed, approved, paid for and delivered, it is worn with pride on club rides and events through the county and beyond. The highlight of which was the sight of Milford Tritons in the Ironman Wales event in September 2014. Once the club was formed we held a general information evening early in the club calendar, aimed at all members as many were novice or had little experience, certainly in group riding and longer rides. Topics like nutrition, hydration and riding skills were covered along with basic maintenance and dreaded inner tube changes and repairs!
In the winter of 2014 and leading up to the Sportive and Time Trial season, we held turbo sessions with thanks to Dragon LNG who kindly allowed us to use the hall. The sessions were focussed on preparation towards the Tour of Pembrokeshire. Apart from the obvious fitness benefits, it kept people in touch even if our Sunday Club Run had to be cancelled because of bad weather. There is no doubt that all those who attended regularly improved their fitness levels, which was there for all to see when the clocks went forward and we went back on the roads this spring. The club has also purchased turbo trainers and made them available for members to use at the sessions.
First Sportive for some
It was good to see the entry for the Tour of Pembrokeshire had Tritons tackling all distances and although it was nothing short of horrendous weather, all riders returned safely and took something away with them in the form of experience of how to suffer a bit. For many this would have been their first event of this kind and the all members, somehow, even enjoyed the experience! Other events from the early Daffodil Ride at Pendine, the Merlin Ride and the Long Course Weekend to the Ironman had a Tritons entry and to my knowledge they were all enjoyed in a way that probably cannot be understood by our non-cycling family, friends and colleagues at work. Now bitten by the bug were sure that members taking part in these events will grow and as such so should our membership off the back of these and other events.
Sunday Club Runs
The Sunday Club Runs which are the heart and soul of the club, continued through all weathers last winter except for a few weeks where it was deemed both dangerous and stupid to try and cycle. The strong winds and storms didn’t deter us though and we picked our way through the pebbles at Broad and Little Haven more than once. At times we numbered in the high twenties which was a pleasant surprise given the cold weather - we thought numbers may drop off until the spring.
We had some cracking bright, cold and crisp mornings as we left Milford and covered pretty much all areas within our 30-40 mile distance rides. There was always a shorter halfway option for those who wished to ride less but more often than not the full route was covered by all. The club feel that this shorter option on all rides is most important and the way forward for encouraging newcomers to the sport.
The views at places like Freshwater East and West, Newgale, Broad Haven and from Camrose looking down to the coast were nothing short of spectacular and we are lucky to have that on our patch.
As the weather warmed up and the mudguards came off the midweek rides began and were attended by many of the club members at some time or another. The rides were kept to 20-30 miles and usually at a quicker pace for the shorter options but we still catered for those who attended. We saw many newcomers join the rides most of whom decided they would like to join the club and have since done so.
Club Management Tool
We were keen to make the full use of the Club Management Tool and have to say that it has made the collection of subs and communication with members much easier than our first year - we would recommend it to all clubs, after all you’ve paid for it through your affiliation.
Our own Club website is now up and running and has become the main place to go for information about the club rides and any news deemed worthy! A club forum is available and members are making good use of it.
Trying new things
Our members have attended a track session at the Newport Velodrome which was enjoyed so much that we have already booked our return. It was exhilarating and gave us a good appreciation of what the top riders achieve.
Plans for the Future
Two of our members have already qualified as Breeze Champion Ride Leaders and they are looking forward to organising the Breeze Pembrokeshire rides.
We are planning to increase our club coaches, with three of our members taking their Level 1 Courses this year. Following discussion with the Sport Development officer of our local authority, we are also looking into the Go Ride scheme to help increase the number of younger members.