Dave Nunn, time trial de­vel­op­ment sec­re­tary

Cycling Weekly - - RIDE WITH -

CW: How long have you been rid­ing?

KP: I’ve been rid­ing for over 30 years now, but I was never a mem­ber of a cy­cling club un­til I joined Ilke­ston CC. I tried a num­ber of other clubs in the past but al­ways found them to be very ma­cho and very un­friendly. It’s never been like that here, every­one from fast to slow, from skinny to heavy is catered for. It is to­tally in­clu­sive.

CW: Are you hav­ing any prob­lems with cop­ing with the rapid suc­cess?

KP: Not so far, and I think this is down to how well or­gan­ised we are. Sit­ting at the helm are our two found­ing mem­bers, Dave and Nick, then un­der them 12 deputies, who to­gether form what I like to call a be­nign dic­ta­tor­ship. Each deputy has a spe­cific task — sec­re­tary, trea­surer, coach — and re­ports up­wards. So far it runs like clock­work.

CW: Tell me about the ride card you handed out, I’ve never seen these be­fore.

KP: We just thought it was a good idea, just to sim­ply ex­plain the sim­ple rules of the road; not to ram it down peo­ple’s throats but just point­ers to keep them and other road users safe. We also run through key points ver­bally at the start of each ride to help ed­u­cate and in­form all new mem­bers. Dis­trict if you want some proper hills. To­day we were head­ing south to Beth’s Kitchen in Bree­don-on-the-hill and as Nunn pointed out, ‘bree’ is an old Celtic word for ‘hill’, ‘don’ is an old English word for ‘hill’ and ‘hill’... well it means ‘hill’, so the place is ac­tu­ally called Hill-hill-on-the Hill — sounds like my kind of place.

As I worked my way round the group I stopped to chat to Amanda Smith, or ‘Smudge’ as she is known. She had started rid­ing just a year ear­lier fol­low­ing ad­vice from her doc­tor to help her arthritic knees. At first she went out with rid­ers on a fe­male-only Breeze ride and then went on a cou­ple of FLAB rides (Fat Lad at the Back), but it wasn’t un­til she found the Ilke­ston CC that she re­ally started to progress. “I just felt at home right away; this club isn’t just about cy­cling, these peo­ple are my mates, we go away to­gether, go out to the cinema, I have made great friends, oh, and done a num­ber of 100-mile rides now, some­thing I never thought would be pos­si­ble,” said Smith.

As we headed south we passed one of the faster groups as they’d stopped for a me­chan­i­cal, as all the groups do, be­cause no one gets left be­hind, then a few miles later they came charg­ing past us. “We cater for all abil­i­ties,” Dick­ens told me. “From young fast lads who race to ab­so­lute be­gin­ners and every­one in be­tween, we can even boast a cer­tain Dave Brails­ford as a mem­ber. He lives just up the road’ in fact he gave out the prizes at our club din­ner last year and comes to hold up rid­ers at our even­ing time tri­als.”

This was an­other thing Nunn was par­tic­u­larly proud of. “Last sum­mer we kicked pro­ceed­ings off with some train­ing ses­sions to in­tro­duce peo­ple to the con­cept of time tri­alling then fol­lowed these with our first event, which was just a very short 2.5 mile course. Af­ter this we built up to five miles, 7.5 miles and now have a proper 10-mile out and back.”

As we headed south we passed through the beau­ti­ful grounds of Calke Abbey and then onto ‘Hill-hill-on-the-hill’. Our cafe stop at Beth’s Kitchen lies at the bot­tom of the hill, but to earn your cake you have to head up and down first. With a mod­est length but on a sharp gra­di­ent, the twist­ing road takes you to the top of an iso­lated mound where you can sur­vey the panorama in all di­rec­tions as you nurse your sore legs then drop back down to fuel up.

Af­ter a solid feed and with the wind at our backs, the pace was up as we headed home, de­posit­ing rid­ers as we passed their houses to fin­ish back at the ceno­taph with the mar­ket in full swing. The Ilke­ston CC is a huge suc­cess story over­seen by a group of ded­i­cated peo­ple who have

quite lit­er­ally, from noth­ing, fa­cil­i­tated some­thing that is chang­ing lives in the town, and long may it con­tinue.

Club his­tory

Ilke­ston CC was born in July 2017, and no that isn’t a typo, it re­ally is that young, and yes, it re­ally does boast over 400 mem­bers.

The nu­cleus of the club — those who pro­vided the ini­tial spark that cre­ated the ex­plo­sion — were a small group of lo­cal rid­ers who got to­gether to take part in some char­ity rides and thanks to the “un­bri­dled en­ergy” and “flaw­less or­gan­i­sa­tion” of Nick Knighton and Dave Hart­ley, and through the medium of so­cial me­dia the Ilke­ston has grown and grown.

Or­ange and black fin­ery is now ubiq­ui­tous in the area’s by­ways and bistros

Build it and they will come: Ilke­ston was cry­ing out for a cy­cling club

Up and down Bree­don Hill and into Beth’s Kitchen

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