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Wheel boost for club as cycling takes off

By Nick Elwell | Grassroots | Published:

With cycling on the up since lockdown, a Wolverhampton-based club is on the lookout for more members in anticipation of the 'new normal'.

Wolverhampton's Andy Tennant.

Wolverhampton Wheelers Cycling Club are hoping those who have bought bicycles as a way to keep fit – or those who have rediscovered their passion for riding around – over the past couple of months will continue to enjoy doing so once restrictions are eased.

The club – which is usually based at Aldersley Stadium and has been going since 1891 – has nurtured former world champions in Hugh Porter and Andy Tennant.

And Gary Burke, who took over chairmanship last November, said: "We have a new normal ahead so new ways of getting around and keeping fit are waiting for those venturing out onto two wheels.

"The club is at a standstill at the moment, but there are plenty of people riding bicycles individually – and some of those will maybe want to take it a bit further. Fred Williams Cycles in Snow Hill have been run off their feet.

"Whether it is track racing, time-trial racing – there are all sorts of disciplines and people with all sorts of knowledge.

"It seems a good time to let Wolverhampton and the Black Country know that there's a great club here that could help a lot of people."

Ex-racing cyclist Hugh Porter poses with the road sign named after him on the road which leads to Aldersley Leisure Village.

With people looking for fun ways to exercise safely during the pandemic and a respite from being indoors, many have turned to cycling.

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Cycling for everyday transport has not been restricted as social distancing can be maintained, even at traffic lights. It is also being encouraged as a way to get to work once the virus eases, instead of using public transport which is at reduced capacity.

Wolverhampton Wheelers cater for riders of all ages, with a family membership costing £25 per year. And for members, bikes are available for track training – for those looking to give it a go before investing in one of their own.

Porter, who is a lifetime member at the club, won four individual world titles in the individual pursuit as well as Commonwealth Games gold throughout the 60s and 70s.

Willenhall cyclist Stuart Dangerfield

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Tennant, still active, has been part of three World Cup-winning teams while Stuart Dangerfield – also formerly of the club and now living in Australia – has been British champion five times.

Shaun Mason youth development officer, said: “Aldersley Stadium is currently closed due to Coronavirus, but normally coaching takes place three evenings a week for anyone looking to get more involved with cycling when resumption takes place at the stadium."

Burke added: "The club has recognised this massive increase and is opening the doors to welcome new members into the club for those that have unexpectedly discovered they enjoy cycling and would like to further their interest by joining a club."

Membership applications can be found online at www.wolverhamptonwheelers.co.uk if anyone wishes to join in anticipation of the club restarting training.

Nick Elwell

By Nick Elwell
Grassroots Sports Editor

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