Wheeling the time away over many years
Ray Singh never imagined the cycling club he helped establish would still be going strong 30 years on.
The Forestland Wheelers will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year and 72-year-old Singh carries on with it.
Singh and four cycling friends cooked up the idea from club members in other districts.
‘‘We spoke to a couple of other people and they kept going on, ‘oh you guys should do this and that’,’’ he said.
Although the five original riders had the experience, they lacked in numbers to create a registered club.
‘‘We needed to have 15 people as a club so we signed up our families,’’ he said.
They managed to sign up their relatives and meet the requirements to register themselves as a club in May 1984.
Founding member James Rusk put the name forward and it stuck.
‘‘We were deciding what we were we going to call ourselves and then we said, ‘oh that is quite a good name’,’’ Singh said.
To Singh’s amazement, a number of South Waikato cyclists became wheelers in only a few months.
The social cycling club had the name and numbers but something was missing.
‘‘James Rusk’s mum made us our club jerseys, she made us about 40-odd full sets, she was a really good sewer,’’ he said.
Singh said numbers of riders have fluctuated throughout the years but the club has stayed strong.
What has seen the club continue is not a competitive nature but the friendships and support that lies within it.
‘‘We don’t have divisions as such, we all instruct each other,’’ he said.
Members as young as 3 years old are supported by the older and experienced riders such as Singh.
With more than 30 years of experience, the grade eight master cyclist has a lot to offer new riders.
Club president Theresa Large believed the club has stayed strong because of the mentors.
‘‘I think a lot of it is the older mentors who show the younger kids how to ride,’’ she said.
One of the more well-known Wheeler members among the cyclist community is Jim McMurray.
Large said the 200- mile cycling marathon champion is one of the club’s professionals who plays an active role in the club.
‘‘It’s really motivating to see them, these guys are always happy to help out,’’ she said.
The anniversary is officially in May.
STILL RIDING: Fighting fit and still riding, Ray Singh continues to ride as a Forestland Wheeler 30 years on.