British Cycling has launched a new consultation on the barriers to getting more young people racing, and the changes to equipment and technical regulations required to create an accessible, positive and fair environment for all.
The consultation forms part of a drive to reinvigorate grassroots racing, following the launch of new long-term plans for the cycling disciplines last month, with the ambition of providing a wide variety of racing opportunities to a broader range of young people and ensuring that cycling events and the competition pathway are more accessible and appealing.
The initial consultation will run throughout July, and responses are being sought from parents and guardians, riders, clubs, volunteers, officials and all stakeholders with an interest in youth competition. The consultation process will include a number of interactive workshops hosted by British Cycling to better understand the current landscape.
Recognising that the challenges and current regulations differ across the disciplines, specific steering groups will be established for road, track, mountain biking, cyclo-cross, speedway and BMX, with support from the Discipline Commissions and stakeholders within those specific communities.
Following the end of the consultation window all responses will be reviewed, with an update on proposed changes to be published in due course. To have your say, see the next steps, and to sign up for regular updates on the progress of the consultation, click here. You can find out more about the consultation process here.
British Cycling’s Cycling Delivery Director, Dani Every, said: “As the governing body for the sport it is our duty to ensure that cycling is accessible to as wide of an audience as possible, safeguards the interests and wellbeing of those who take part and offers a positive experience whatever your age, ability, background or aspirations in the sport.
“While we have made a number of positive changes to support youth racing across the disciplines over recent years, we know that the level of competition and the costs of equipment and travel are continuing to place strain on our riders and their parents or guardians.
“The first step in this process is to listen to those within our sport to learn more about the challenges as they see them and consider suggestions for how we can overcome them. We saw a fantastic response to the consultation on our long-term plans for the cycling disciplines, and the process benefitted hugely from the knowledge and insight we gained, so we’re keen to cast the net far and wide here once again.”
British Cycling’s Talent Development Manager, Joe Malik, said: “While we know that advances in bike and kit technology have had huge performance benefits at the highest level, we share the concerns of many that it places unfair barriers in the way of the performance aspirations of some riders and risks pricing others out of the sport altogether.
Our core aim as a Talent Development programme is to provide support and opportunities for the country’s most naturally talented riders, and by making our programme more inclusive and accessible we’ll be best placed to fulfil that ambition.”