Ped­dlers were keen to go for it on track

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By TERESA HAT­TAN

As soon as the Avan­tidrome in Cam­bridge was com­pleted, Mata­mata cy­clist Dale Er­tel was in there like a shot.

Er­tel, who is pres­i­dent of the Mata­mata Ped­dlers, com­pleted ac­cred­i­ta­tion for the in­door velo­drome as soon as the fa­cil­ity was ready ear­lier this year.

He was one of the first people on the track and said go­ing through the ac­cred­i­ta­tion process was in­valu­able.

Be­ing ac­cred­ited means rid­ers have per­mis­sion and have been cer­ti­fied. They are per­ceived as be­ing safe to ride on the track, are safe to­wards them­selves and safe to­wards oth­ers.

This was im­por­tant, Er­tel said, as the velo­drome was a multi- mil­lion dol­lar fa­cil­ity and it could be dam­aged eas­ily if ac­ci­dents hap­pen.

Er­tel said he shouted him­self the cost of ac­cred­i­ta­tion as a Christ­mas present.

Putting it bluntly, he said the ex­pe­ri­ence of track cy­cling scared him.

‘‘I cer­tainly had a few wob­bles and that was noth­ing more than nerves. I’m quite ca­pa­ble on a bike, but that thing, it was a dif­fer­ent ket­tle of fish.’’

In re­al­ity, Er­tel said it was scary be­cause there was the pos­si­bil­ity of get­ting in­jured but he soon be­came hooked.

‘‘Once you do ride it and you find out you can get around those steep walls, it’s a buzz and that’s why people get hooked on it quite quickly, be­cause it’s an adrenalin buzz.’’

Be­cause he be­came pas­sion­ate about the track, ev­ery time he was with Ped­dlers mem­bers he would end up talk­ing about it.

He then re­alised there were other club mem­bers who would be keen to give the track a go so he or­gan­ised a have-a-go ses­sion.

Er­tel said the ac­cred­i­ta­tion process al­ways starts with a have-a-go ses­sion, which can ei­ther be pub­lic and open to ev­ery­one or a closed ses­sion if you have the num­bers re­quired.

The club had good num­bers to start with and were able to host two full ses­sions with about 30 mem­bers giv­ing track cy­cling a go.

But Er­tel said of those, a num­ber of the fe­male club mem­bers didn’t end up hav­ing a go. He said he quickly re­alised that they felt in­tim­i­dated while rid­ing around the track, so he or­gan­ised a ‘chicks only’ havea-go ses­sion. He said this was suc­cess­ful and quite a few of the ladies ended up join­ing the ac­cred­i­ta­tion process.

Af­ter the have-a-go ses­sions, about 16 club mem­bers said they wanted to do the ac­cred­i­ta­tion so once a week for five or six weeks the group worked through the ac­cred­i­ta­tion process. This was con­cluded late last month.

Er­tel said it was im­por­tant to go through the process of ac­cred­i­ta­tion and he was proud of the club mem­bers that had com­pleted the course.

He said it was ex­cit­ing to have a fa­cil­ity such as the velo­drome ‘‘in our back­yard’’ and he en­cour­aged ev­ery­one to or­gan­ise their own have-a-go ses­sion.

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