Platinum Profile - Caitlin

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East Bradford Cycling Club

Q: What level are you currently at on the Cycling Award for Young Volunteers Programme?

A: Currently I am at gold, but hope to get more hours soon through my club.

Q: What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

A: It would have to be interacting with younger children, they always give everything a go and they look up to you as a role model.

Q: How do you think being a volunteer has helped you?

A: It would have to be interacting with younger children, they always give everything a go and they look up to you as a role model.

Q: Is there anything you would change about your volunteering experience?

A: I think it has really helped me to come out of my shell and speak out. Also I’m not as shy when meeting new people since becoming a young volunteer.

Q: Where would you like your volunteering to take you in the future?

A: I would like it to take me into coaching other cyclists and helping them to develop all their skills.
Caitlin's blogs....

Blog 1: 11/05/2013

BSCA Circuit Championship


Today there was a BSCA circuit championship at Richard Dunns sport centre, my club’s cycling track. I started off helping at the sign on desk. Though it looks like a simple task it was pretty chaotic with the amount of people needing entry sheets, numbers etc. Janet and I, a parent helping out, sorted out the numbers and made sure that when a child needed to sign on, it was done effectively and smoothly. Once everyone had signed on and went off to warm up I took it upon myself to write out all the certificates for the end presentation. When the results of each race came to the desk I wrote the rider’s position on their certificate and placed them into a folder for later on. Once everyone had raced and were ready for the presentation, I got all the medals and badges out for the winners and gave out the certificates for the all the riders, youngest age group first.

I feel that sign on ran smoothly once we had a routine to go by and that by doing the certificates while the races where happening I was organised and didn’t have to rush about as much. I could have brought some clip boards so that once the certificates were written I could have put them into the clip board instead of into a folder already filled with documents. I thought the whole day was a success with every volunteer having something to do to help out. I think that by me choosing to write the certificates without been asked helped a lot as it meant they were done in advance and other people didn’t have to rush them at the end of the races.

There were two challenges that I faced, the first was the wind. As Richard Dunns is known to be very open and windy, the paperwork and numbers on the table were flying everywhere! To sort this I placed stones on the numbers to stop them flying over the track. Second challenge was not been able to read everyone’s handwriting on the start sheets therefore some children’s names were spelt wrong on their certificates. However after the presentation I rewrote the incorrect certificates with the correct spellings.

I used my communication skills as I had to frequently ask other volunteers for advice and ask for the results at the end of each race. I also used team working skills as I had to work with other people, I made sure that everyone knew what needed to be done and that it was done smoothly and effectively. Next time I volunteer at an event such as this one I will, firstly, ask parents/riders to write their names clearly on the start sheet so that when the certificates are being written, all of them are spelt correctly. Also I would be a little more organised by bringing equipment that could help important documents to stay safe and for numbers etc stop flying away in any possible wind.  

Blog 2: Go-Ride race


I started by completing bike checks before the start of the race. This was to ensure that all the bikes were safe to use during the race and that no one would get injured. During the race I helped marshal making sure that each rider mounted and dismounted their bikes at the correct point. I felt that I listened well and completed all my tasks very well, however I could have been more organised with my time keeping and setting out equipment.

Some of the younger riders were confused during the race as they hadn’t been told where the mount and dismount section was. Also there were foam blocks on the ground that indicated the mount and dismount sections, however the children had not been told that they could run around them. Therefore I had to shout in advance telling them when to dismount and where they should remount. I also moved the blocks to the side of the track so that they didn’t have to dodge around them. I felt that with me helping with the marshalling and bike checking, the event organisers had more time to sort out the more important aspects of the race.

I used my communication skills to tell the children where they had to mount and dismount during the race. I also used my knowledge of bike checking. This helped as I knew what I had to check for and knew how to fix anything that was wrong. Next time I would make sure that all the riders know what they have to do during the race so that the event runs more smoothly.

Blog 3:
Rollers at a school event


After finally finding the primary school we needed to be at, I helped the other coaches, Mandy and Helen, set out all the equipment that we needed for the rollers. After the rollers had been set up and were running I demonstrated riding free rollers on my track bike. A lot of the children, ages ranging from 4 to 8, and adults were quite impressed by the no handed skills. When more children started wanting to race I put my bike to the side and gave encouragement, by standing on the front of their box that the forks are attached to, as well as setting saddle heights and securely fastening their feet to the pedals. Before they started their races, I gave them a few little tips so that they could go that little bit faster and get a brilliant time.

I gave the children lots of encouragement during their races and most of them returned to beat their previous time(s). However I could have told the children their times so that they had something to go home with. The only challenge I faced was that one child kept returning to beat his time, however he was pushing in front of the children who hadn’t raced. Therefore I let him have more than one go but he had to wait at the back of the line first so that others were able to also have a go.

I used my communication skills as I was successfully able to help the other volunteers and coaches as well as giving each child lots of encouragement whilst they were racing.


Blog 4: Roller racing at a school event


As the school we were at was having a sports week we were asked, as a club, to come and do roller racing. We have been to this school the previous year and the roller racing was a massive hit with the students. I started the day by helping set out the equipment that was needed and made sure that all the rollers were up connected to the computer and are working. When the classes started to come in me and another volunteer made sure that the saddles were correct to the height of the rider. I also made sure that before the sprint the riders had their strongest leg in the start position (level with the down tube).

The last class to come in could not speak any/much English, therefore this proved to be quite difficult. To overcome this I use small simple gestures that would enable me to set their saddle height and tell them to stop and start. We did have some interpreters however they did not help as much as we would have liked. Through the hour this class turned out to be the best class as they listened and posted some of the fastest times of the day. The fastest been 15.030 seconds. One of the students wanted to race against me at the end; however he left before we had chance.

I used my listening skills and observation skills as I had to try understand what the non English speaking students were saying whilst they were racing. I used observation again with the non English speakers as the gestures that they were doing to communicate; I had to try understand what they meant.  Next time I would make sure that all the students are settled down and are quiet before they start racing. Also I would make sure that they don’t mess about whilst riding by giving them lots of encouragement to do well. Also, when they are finished, I would have them sit down quietly and listen and cheer on their friends.


Blog 5: National Youth Forum meeting


Today was the first of the National Youth Forum meetings. We started the day by completing team working exercises so that it enabled us to get to know each other. During the day we discussed what we wanted to achieve out of all the meetings and made suggestions on how we wanted to shape the future of British Cycling for the younger generation, racing and volunteering. I felt that some of my suggestions were very good as I pointed out that there should be more opportunities for women in racing. I also feel that every point that was made during the day will be successful and can be the start of great changes.

The main challenge that I faced was mainly at the start of the session. As I am quite shy I was very nervous when I had to present my presentation. However I overcame this by putting my nerves behind me and just talked about what I knew. I used my communication skills as I had to talk a lot to the rest of the group on what ideas I had for the future. I also used my team working skills, especially in the egg drop challenge where my team’s egg did not smash after been dropped from a height.

 Next time I am at the forum meeting I will make sure that I put more of my points to the rest of the group and become more confident.