Young bike riding enthusiasts in Primary 7 are being recruited by Live Borders to help keep them cycling while transitioning into high school.
Lead coach Chris Bryant is heading the annual programme for Live Borders’ Advanced Riding Development Squad, known as ARDS.
And the venture is being endorsed by a rising young champion from Denholm.
Young riders meet weekly in Tweedbank for training and group rides, aimed at developing skills on and off the bike which are fundamental to develop as a cyclist or racer.
Riders start when they are in P7 and the group helps them move through the transition into high school.
This is also often a time the intensity of racing intensifies, and it is important for young people to have a group of peers that share an interest.
The Live Borders team is looking for expressions of interest from new riders for the 2019-20 group.
As well as helping several current national champions, ARDS is about enjoying time on a bike and learning for any enthusiastic bike rider.
“The programme isn’t set on creating athletes but on giving good advice and support to riders who want to develop,” said Chris, who is also Scottish Cycling’s regional MTB coach.
“It might be that some riders just love riding bikes and others need some structure or knowledge about off-bike training.
“By mixing riders from a variety of areas of the Borders, we have had great success, with young athletes returning as volunteers to support our programme, others taking on challenging races at a national level, and others still taking their skill and love for cycling to keep healthy or volunteer at local charities.”
Denholm’s William Brodie, National Downhill and Enduro Champion (for his age category), said: “For me, ARDS was a great way to learn ways of training, as well as exploring new trails.”
William now rides for ‘Team Leslie Bike Shop/Bikers Boutique Downhill Team’.
His mum Georgina added: “They loved the woodland trails and got loads from training side. I remember William coming home and practising his leg speed drills up and down our stairs at home.
“ARDS also inspired him to get involved and give something back to a local club too.”
Chris Bryan added: “Graduating riders from our 2018 group have gone on to become confident participants in their sport, or continue to enjoy the health benefits of regular sport.”
With Scotland hosting the 2023 Cycling World Championships for all cycling disciplines, he said, young Borderers may be setting their sights on emulating Borders athlete Ruaridh Cunningham.
As a junior in 2017, he won a Rainbow Jersey at a home World Championships in Fort William.
“With former ARDS riders now current national champions in Downhill and Enduro, it will be interesting to see who, if any, pursues the opportunity to participate in our next home World Championships,” said Chris.
New riders will start on Friday, May 3. Sessions are from 3pm-4.30pm or 4.30pm to 6pm at Tweedbank.
For more information, contact email@example.com.