Club focus: Solent Pirates Youth CC
08 May 2015
The South Coast club’s purpose is clear: “To have fun on bikes with friends; to discover a sport for life; to develop skills and fitness; to compete”.
It’s a philosophy which has seen Solent Pirates grow quickly in just three years to become a hugely popular children’s cycling club that is active in all forms of cycling.
Linda Cantelo and Press Officer Andrea Coote introduce their club to Youth Cycle Sport fans in our latest club focus feature.
Solent Pirates is a youth cycling racing club based on the South Coast, founded in August 2012 by local cyclists with children who race their bikes. It is a British Cycling Go-Ride club with Club Mark accreditation run entirely by volunteers.
Currently there are fifteen qualified coaches including Level 3 and discipline-specific road, cyclocross, mountain biking and track coaches, most of whom are parents of club members. Alongside the coaches numerous parents and friends have important roles within the club, from club secretary, membership manager, volunteer co-ordinator, website manager, bike mechanic to PR officers. The older riders are also encouraged to assist in the running of the club with jobs such as sign on, reports writing for the website and assisting the coaches when required or needed.
The club is purely dedicated to promoting and developing all forms of youth cycling, for those aged from six to eighteen and is the only one in the south that does so.
Variety is key to keeping the Pirates coming back and there is no shortage of cycling experiences for them to enjoy.
The main sessions run on Saturday afternoons at Thorney Island Military Base on its disused runways. This offers a safe, if sometimes windy, environment for our younger Pirates to build up their basic skills on their bike and for more experienced members to build on their group riding, stamina and race skills.
Solent Pirates run numerous other sessions covering many forms of cycling; during the autumn and winter a CX session runs in parallel to the main Thorney Island session, at the purpose built grass MTB area with lumps and bumps area on the base, to prepare riders for weekly Wessex League races. A club road ride for over 12s on every Sunday, at various tried and tested routes.
Sessions on Tuesday evenings over the winter are dedicated to CX skills in the dark. When the CX season ends we move on to MTB skills both utilising the purpose-built MTB area, and as the evenings draw out and light allows then the sessions move over on to the runway. In the winter Thursday evenings herald the sweaty indoor rollers session and switching to road rides in the summer both for the over 12s.
On alternate Fridays various groups of Pirates make their way to Calshot indoor Velodrome to train, flying around the outdoor Velodrome in Bournemouth on various Saturday sessions in the summer is only topped by the Pirates going to emulate their cycling icons at the Lee Valley Velodrome once a year. Solent Pirates has purchased a number of small track bikes enabling all Pirates access to track cycling.
On the communal side of things Solent Pirates organises many social and fundraising events, including a yearly camping weekend, a BBQ, prize-giving and this year we plan a club championship event.