Site for new outdoor velodrome proposed
AFTER the hero’s welcome of cycling champion Geraint Thomas, children are likely to be pedaling a bit faster when they’re out on their bikes this summer, as they dream of becoming the next Tour de France winner.
Geraint was just 10 years old when he began cycling with the Maindy Flyers Cycling Club at Maindy Stadium, an outdoor cycling track in Cardiff.
And some residents living in a town in Bridgend County Borough believe they have found the perfect place for another outdoor velodrome – a site which would need very little landscaping due to its shape.
The site in Sandy Bay, Porthcawl, is owned by Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) and run as a caravan park for holiday makers by the Hi-Tide.
Local resident Ben Dickinson, who is himself a keen cyclist, suggested the idea on Facebook, receiving a positive response from others.
He said: “I first thought of it after reading stories about Geraint Thomas and where he started off at the Maindy Club, which has its own outdoor velodrome.
“As far as I know, it’s massively oversubscribed at all levels and has a huge youth club.
“I’ve got two children who are six and eight, and they both like riding their bikes, going as quickly as possible.
“We live not far from Sandy Bay and we tend to take them down there quite a lot to ride around The Bowl.
“I’d like to get my children into cycling in a bigger way and I was looking for a local youth development club through the British Cycling website, but there’s nothing in Bridgend at all.
“Looking at the shape of The Bowl, it’s almost the exact same size and shape of an outdoor velodrome.”
Outdoor cycling tracks are usually bigger and not as steeply banked as indoor velodromes.
Mr Dickinson said: “If somebody gave me a blank cheque I would put some sort of grandstand seating around it.
“The Maindy one has a couple of football pitches within it and roads so young people can do cycling proficiency tests and motorbike training.
“If Cardiff Council is bidding for £20m from the Welsh Government for new cycle paths, maybe Porthcawl could bid for funding and create a vibrant local resource which could be used by local kids and clubs, host competi- tions and maybe launch the career of the next Welsh Tour de France or Giro Rosa champion.”
Last month cabinet member for regeneration at BCBC Charles Smith called for Wales to host one of the stages of the Tour de France, saying Porthcawl’s Eastern Promenade would make the perfect backdrop to the start of a stage.
Welcoming all suggestions for leisure facilities in the town, he said: “It would be marvellous to incorporate this iconic feature in some way in the future Sandy Bay development, but obviously there would be lots of practicalities to consider.”
Geraint Thomas holds a signed Welsh flag during the homecoming event in Cardiff