Published: 19th Apr 2024 Images: Scottish Cycling

You’ll take the high road: Setting up a club on the banks of Loch Lomond

After the success of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, Scottish Cycling is undertaking Project 23 to set up 23 new youth-focused clubs across Scotland in areas that previously weren’t served by one.

In January 2023, Scottish Cycling launched Project 23, a bold plan to grow the network of youth cycling clubs in Scotland. This key legacy outcome of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championship saw us undertake an initial analysis of the locality of youth clubs within Scotland and identify significant geographical gaps. Upon completion of this, task we created a focus list of area’s and began our phased approach. Of course, the creation of a club does not happen in on it’s own, so a number of factors were also taken into consideration including local authority links and facilities. 

One such local authority and location that was identified was West Dumbartonshire and in particular, Balloch and we’re extremely pleased to see the recently formed Lomond Riders going from strength to strength. We’ve decided to shine a light on this project, in the hope that it might inspire community members from across the country to consider the creation of a youth club. 

Following identification of the location, we reached out to the local authority Sport Development team to ascertain if they think there would be any interest. A short while later, an information session, open to all, was hosted in the local community hall. The range of interest in attendance was staggering ranging from self-titled “old boys and girls” who just wanted company out on their mountain bike rides, to young people and families who wanted to improve their skills and confidence and people who had no interest in cycling but were keen to support the administration within a club. 

You can read the new Clubs Starter Pack here

On the back of this meeting and the creation of a contacts lists of interested parties, Scottish Cycling helped get the wheels were put in motion for the creation of a club. This involved identifying appropriate committee members, coaches, location for session and creation of various documents and attendance of courses to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for all within the club. 

Whilst the creation of a club isn’t without its challenges, Scottish Cycling and those involved within the club used their contacts to ensure that progress was consistently being made. The club also successfully applied and benefited from the Sportscotland Community Cycling Fund which helped with costs and hopefully removed some potential barriers to participation. Particularly pleasing to see was the support from other clubs across Scotland who offered support and guidance in many areas, and in some cases even provided coaches for come and try sessions. 

David McLean, Club and Coach Development Coordinator for West Dunbartonshire Leisure, was key in the creation and development of Lomond Riders commented: The funding from the Community Cycling Fund has made a huge difference in supporting the set-up and development of Lomond Riders Cycling Club. From the submission of the initial proposal through to the application process and receiving the funds, we have valued the support and advice that has been available from Scottish Cycling and sportscotland. 

Since completing affiliation to Scottish Cycling, Lomond Riders have gone from strength to strength including increasing their volunteer numbers, gaining coaching and first aid qualifications, undergoing safeguarding training and ensuring compliance with Scottish Cycling minimum operating standards and strong representation at the Scottish Cycling Conference in November and a youth member successfully applying to be in our Young Peoples Panel. 

There are a number of other clubs in other area’s who are well on their way to completing their journey to becoming a fully affiliated club and we look forward to sharing their stories in future.

Should you wish to discuss the possibility of starting a new club and what support can be provided, please do not hesitate to contact the Club Development Team: [email protected].