Site for new out­door velo­drome pro­posed

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views - LIZ BRADFIELD liz.bradfield@waleson­

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

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