February is the month of #CyclingLove, and this week we are sharing our love for the amazing volunteers that play such an important role in cycling across Britain!
Today, we are sharing our love for Sharon Dyson, a retired Fire Control Manager from the North East of England. Sharon volunteers at countless events during the year and we are so unbelievably grateful for the job she does!
Below find out all about Sharon, her volunteering story, and why she loves cycling!
Hi, my name is Sharon Dyson. I am a retired Fire Control Manager, and in the main, I volunteer as a Timekeeper for Cycling time trials, as well as an Event Organiser.
I oversee most of the local cycling time trials in the North East District as a Committee member. I trained as an Accredited Marshall for road races about three or four years ago – I always used to either help out or go along to watch the races anyway, so this felt like a perfect fit.
I also volunteer quite a bit on large ultra-running events, running Checkpoints, and the odd triathlon. Basically, I’m a serial volunteer!
On an average day volunteering I spend a couple of hours at my computer early morning, answering queries and making sure that everything is in place for events which are coming up. Being retired, I am able to go out and do course inspections through the day to assist organisers, particularly if we hear that roadworks have popped up overnight (always an organiser’s nightmare!)
Midweek evenings are normally spent helping with Club time trial events, as well as at weekends. I’m often helping out at the different disciplines (time trials and race roads) in the same day – something I really enjoy.
By far the best thing about volunteering is seeing the same faces week in week out, and knowing that they appreciate the help you give. Giving encouragement and support to riders from my side of the road, or finish line.
Volunteering in cycling events kind of happened by accident. My late father introduced me to cycling time trials around 2016. He was a keen sports photographer and used to go down to snap our local time trials. He then went on photograph road races. I’m a Leo, so like to be the organiser! In a matter of weeks, I could see that the local Club needed help, so started off as a marshal then expressed an interest in training to become a timekeeper as I learned they were short in that department.
Why do you love cycling?
Haha! I don’t actually cycle myself but watch it enough to know that I could easily win the Tour de France if I set my mind to it (joking obvs!).
I suppose I love watching it as it’s the next best thing to actually taking part and events simply wouldn’t happen without non-riders. I particularly like to support any females who want to come and compete in a very male-dominated world.
We have an extremely supportive scene in the North East, so no-one is made to feel awkward rocking up to one of our events.
Joanne Rea had the inspired idea of having “women take-on” events – events specifically aimed at getting larger groups of women to come along to a particular Club event or race. They have been successful in varying degrees – it really does boil down to the type of course being used and the given conditions on the day, and whether or not word gets around that some other females will be coming along – something we hope to build on this season.
Describe your experiences volunteering in 5 words?
Sometimes the sun will shine!
Would you recommend volunteering to others, and why?
I would, if people have time to give up and it wouldn’t be detrimental to their family-life balance, do it! Sometimes you can be away for the full day for longer races, but you get to see the race unfold, lap by lap. It’s nice to be part of cycling as a non-cyclist, so I think this would be an even better fit for someone who used to ride themselves, but can no longer do so for whatever reason.
Thank you so much to Sharon for sharing her #CyclingLove and thank you to all our volunteers who give up their time to help run events across the nation.
If you want to get into volunteering you can find out more here: https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/volunteer/article/vol20110513-How-To-Get-Involved-0