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At the end of the 1990s, and for many years before that, there was a sad, untidy bit of 'waste ground' behind the Velodrome at Herne Hill. It had been used for various things in its history, including as allotments for growing vegetables, and for exercising police horses. For a couple of years in the early 1990s, there had been a couple of fun, but very bumpy 'cyclo-cross' races put on there.
Bill and some friends had an idea to smooth out some tracks and make it into something that people with small wheels could ride more easily, because:
* The Velodrome wasn't getting many young people riding on it.
* Young people tended to have mountain bikes rather than road and track bikes.
So by bringing new people into the track to ride a mountain bike, they'd also see the Velodrome and want to ride on that, too.
In the beginning there was the Velodrome...
Herne Hill Youth Cycling Club History
From small seeds...
So they drew up some plans for the track, asked permission to build it, had discussions with the residents, the track management, raised money to build it, went on coach training courses and started to set up a club, which got going in July 2001. It was to be for 8s to 16s, and we settled on the name Herne Hill Youth Cycling Club. For the first 4 weeks it took place on a Thursday evening from 4.30-6.30pm, but quickly moved to Saturdays.
People kept asking 'my son/daughter is 8 in 3 months, can he/she join in?' or 'he's only 6, but his best friend comes, can he come too?' or 'My girl is 5 1/2 but has been riding since she was 3 and she really wants to cycle'. After we had started getting 4 year-olds, we decided we'd start at age 6, but have separate sessions for the beginners
Six riders came along to our very first session, and the most we've ever had in one session was 47, but regulary get 30+ in each of our sessions now! We now like to offer more than just the off-road circuit, but also take riders out on longer, more exciting countryside rides, and also some track training and racing and also road racing (on traffic-free circuits).
Our main objective is to make the Club open to everyone who wants to come, so we've kept the prices really low and found some grant funding to buy bikes and other things that keep the Club going. We registered quite early on as a Go-Ride Club with British Cycling, and in 2008 we went one stage further by becoming a Go-Ride ClubMark Accredited Club, which means that we are a good place for young people to come, as we use fully qualified, insured and CRB-checked coaches, and also follow proper Child Protection Guidelines.
If you are a parent who is lucky enough to be able to afford to pay more than our standard rates - we have now registered for Gift Aid, which enables us to make full use of your donations by claiming an extra 28p for every £1 you donate to us. Please ask any of us for details!
And this is us now...
Herne Hill Youth Cycling Club (HHYCC) -
here to provide and promote opportunities for all young people to participate in cycling as a sport.