Go Ride - With Tavistock Wheelers

What is Go Ride?

Go-Ride is British Cycling's development programme for young people. The programme provides a fun and safe way to introduce young riders to the world of cycle sport and provides a platform to improve bike handling skills
Read more at British Cycling

Put simply, Go Ride is all about kids having fun on their bikes whilst learning skills in a safe off road environment

Tavistock Wheelers, has established a Go Ride at the Tennis Courts at Tavistock Sports Centre every Saturday morning 9-10 am, for kids between 9 and 14 years

What type of bike is required?

Any type of bike with front and rear brakes is acceptable

The more important aspect is the condition of the bike Under no circumstances can the coaches repair bikes, even the simplest of problems, before or during the sessions If they attempt to do so, they would have to stop or delay the session for the other 9 riders in the group

If you are unsure whether the condition of the bike is suitable, then take it to the LBS (local bike shop) Mention the Go Ride and that you want the bike in good working order We are blessed in the Tavistock area in having great LBS’s! 

Do I have to be at the sessions all the time?

With younger children yes. However we recognise that active children have active parents, whose Saturdays consist of taking their kids between ballet/soccer/gymnastics/tennis etc.   So, we do ask at the very least we have your emergency contact details. Obviously you are welcome to stay to give encouragement!

Does my child need to be a member of Tavistock Wheelers/British Cycling?

No, but if they become regular attenders, then membership of both is recommended. Tavistock Wheelers is very supportive of Go Ride and offers free membership to under 16’s, on the basis that they will also join British Cycling, which is free to members of Tavistock Wheelers in the first year, and cheap for young riders at renewal.

By joining Tavistock Wheelers, you are then eligible for a range of benefits, for example, use of our loan bikes, and purchase of our club kit.

By joining British Cycling, your youngster will also receive lots of useful information from them and be able to take part in British Cycling coaching events and races.

Do you have any advice on buying a new bike for a child?

Buying bikes for youngsters is an area fraught with difficulty. We all know how quickly they grow and how soon they may develop an interest in other activities (though we do have a low drop-out rate amongst our youngsters). Depreciation on new bikes, especially the more expensive models, is high.

We are committed to ensuring that cost should not be a barrier to children realising their potential at cycle sport. The Club is building up a resource of “loan bikes” that can be used by regular riders to, for example, gain their first use of drop handlebars or check bike sizes. They can also be used to take part in their first races. We are also developing an impressive range of knowledge amongst parents, particularly about sourcing pre-owned bikes, who are more than happy to share their knowledge.

Some initial pointers:

Dual purpose bikes, that can be used on and off road offer greater flexibility. There is a growing range of these bikes, due to parent demand and encouragement from British Cycling, who are trying to encourage parents away from “go faster at any cost” for the younger age groups.

Second hand bikes can offer best value, especially where there is a “preowned” market in brands such as Isla bikes, where depreciation rates are quite low. These bikes also offer well established sizing guides.

Think very carefully before buying new bikes from the Internet, where sizing can vary dramatically and build quality is variable.

Remember, sizing does matter, don’t buy bikes because you like the colour!

Tavistock is blessed with some great Local bike shops, all of whom who can help and offer advice;

  • Tavistock Cycles, Paddon Row, Tavistock (Martin and Lorna, Martin is a Tavistock Wheeler)
  • Rockin Bikes Yelverton, (Matt and James, Matt is a Tavistock Wheeler)
  • Dartmoor Cycles (Andy)

There are many Isla bike related Facebook pages

The website http://www.youthcyclesport.co.uk/  has some useful reviews of the best known brands

And of course, the Go Ride coaches are happy to help.

My child is keen to race, when should they start?

There is absolutely no pressure in Go Ride for children to race. A youngster could be part of our Go Ride for 5 years and if they never raced, it would not make the slightest difference to them being a valued member. However, as kids gain in confidence and see how much they are improving, inevitably some will want to take part in competitive events. This could be Mountain biking, Circuit races on tarmac, or Cyclo cross. Races are divided into age categories and take place throughout the year (though circuit races only in the Spring/Summer). Generally speaking Go Ride races are for the less experienced and other races on the British Cycling calendar are regional races, that can attract a higher, more experienced, standard of entry. Inevitably, with the lower population density in this area, there are fewer Go Ride opportunities, which is one of the reasons why the coaches recommened cyclocross. There are Go Ride cyclocross races as part of the South West season.

Cyclocross races can be entered with mountain bikes, hybrids, or road bikes with knobbly tyres and V or disc brakes. The friendliest atmosphere in racing is at cyclocross races and with the different mix of races and age categories, very few actually know who is in the lead! So it can be the perfect introduction to racing.

The coaches are available to help advise on racing and details of races will be posted regularly on the FB group page