Subject:                          Valley Striders - cycling section (VSCC) progress and position within Valley Striders Club


Sent: 14 May 2014 16:48

Hello to all Valley Striders


I’m emailing you to state the position regarding cycling within Valley Striders


It is only 12 months since a dozen Valley Striders went to the Stokesley Duathlon.  Since then things have moved on apace, but there have been a few occasions when the lack of information about the total picture has led to occasional “heated” discussion.


So I apologise that this statement has not been issued earlier as I think it would have answered many of the questions raised.


Firstly I’ll let the Cycling committee let you know of the progress made by the cycling section of Valley Striders over the past year.




Valley Striders Cycling Club (VSCC) is now one year old. In that time we have grown from an informal group of Valley Striders and friends to a large British Cycling and CTC affiliated cycling club. Besides the existing Valley Striders members that ride with us we have also attracted many new members, some of which have also joined Valley Striders and taken up running too.


We charge a membership fee and are bringing further funds into Valley Striders with every new member. We are finding members choosing Valley Striders due to the dual offering of cycling and running within the club. Typically we are finding we have 2 or 3 new members every ride and this appears to be rising now the weather is improving. Our most recent Wednesday evening ride attracted 23 riders which is very impressive for a damp May evening. We’re expecting that number to rise over the next month or so.


We now hold 7 different rides each week catering for all abilities, all of which are held on separate days to the Valley Striders training runs, so that Valley Striders can offer a complete cross-training schedule through the week.


We believe cycling offers a fantastic way of helping runners in many ways. Firstly, it is a great way to cross train and do further cardio-vascular and aerobic training, without increasing running mileage. This will  reduce the chance of injury. Secondly, it has already been proven by many Valley Striders to be an effective way of still training while injured. Some runners that have cycled with us whilst injured are reporting that they are now running better than they ever have. Likewise we promote running to cyclists who want to build on fitness but don’t have the time to put the big cycling miles in.


Further good news is that we were recently successful in a grant application to West Yorkshire Go:Cycling. Following a well researched and detailed submission, we secured a grant that will enable us to train ride leaders through the national cycling body, CTC and also purchase loan bikes to give Valley Striders members an opportunity to try road cycling with VSCC. 


VSCC were selected from over 30 applications and the grant funds will be delivered in three payments to us. We ran our first ride leader training course on March 8th and will be holding a further two in the coming months. If members would like to take part  in this training, please get in touch - all we ask is that you lead at least one ride a month in return. 


We have just purchased two loan bikes, both Scott Speedsters, from Drakes Cycles in Harehills who gave us a significant discount. One bike is a small (52cm frame) and the other a large (56cm frame). A further bike will be purchased in the next week or so with grant funds. These bikes are available to all members free of charge but against a signed agreement that the bikes are kept secure, insured (please check your contents insurance policy covers a bike to the value of £500), clean and maintained. The bikes are available to borrow for up to a 14 days period and are loaned on the basis that you want to try cycling out and will purchase your own bike if you enjoy cycling. We’ve loaned one bike out so far.


Another initiative that we have started is a 'ride to work buddy’ scheme for those who are considering cycling to work. We have already had a new rider take us up on this and they found it a huge help. If this applies to you and you think you’d benefit from being shown the ropes by VSCC members that have been cycle commuting for many years, then please get in touch.


We welcome all Valley Striders members on our rides…it’s free - there is no extra charge if you are already a Valley Striders member and we promise to look after you if you are new to cycling and push you hard if you are an accomplished cyclist.




And now my personal view


In Valley Striders, there has always been a close link with cycling.  Some examples follow.  Those of you who have read club founder Stuart StJohn’s early history of the club will know that Valley Striders was conceived at Micky Dewhirst’s house, and Micky had been a “domestique” on the Tour de France for 5-times winner Jacques Anquetil.  When Stuart left Leeds for Scotland in 1993, the club members bought him a mountain-bike in appreciation for his 12 years as club secretary and most other jobs at the club.  Many evenings I’ve listened to Geoff and Sylvia tell me about their cycling holidays.  And when Tracey Morris was training for the Athens Olympic marathon, she was often supported by Steve O’Callaghan on his bike.


Valley Striders is a club that is not afraid to change. Who would have thought, 4 years ago, that within 2 years we’d have a thriving beginners group. Similarly 2 years ago, we’d never have dreamed of having nearly 100 junior members and 55 attending a recent session. Neither of these were planned, but both are now sound due to the enthusiasm of the club members that are supporting them. In both cases, the club put some money in to get things started (e.g. for coaching courses). In both cases the investment has been repaid financially from subscriptions and the club has hugely benefitted.  We really can offer a club for everyone, whereas 4 years ago we had no facilities for juniors, and adults who were slower than 55 (or maybe 50) mins for 10k were scared off.


Cycling is now following the same pattern, as described above.  In membership terms, it’s probably proceeding at a similar rate to the beginners and juniors. But because, in addition to the new members, many of our existing running members are now regularly cycling, the numbers participating are showing a really rapid growth.

·         we’re retaining VS running members who might have left the club through “permanent” injury

·         we’re keeping our “temporarily” injured runners fit

·         we’ve a selling point for new running members who also cycle

·         we’ve a selling point for new cycling members who also run

·         we’ve a selling point for cycling-only members as although we are a brand new cycling club, we have established infrastructure


So, what of the organisation. Last month we worked on an organisation chart (refer to )  What you will see on the chart is that the overall club is now referred to as “Valley Striders” and there are certain central functions there – constitution (which we need to amend), committee, treasury, club membership, image etc. Below this are the athletics section (VSAC) and the cycling section (VSCC), and also another block that bridges the two which we’ve called liaison, these are to co-ordinate what look to be separate activities, in particular the calendar, so that VSCC are not arranging events on the same date as VSAC major events (e.g. Meanwood Trail) and vice versa.  We discussed this organisation chart at a mini-committee meeting last month and everyone understood it and was happy (please contact me if you have any questions).


Of course this has placed extra administration and support work on the club. But  VSCC have their own committee that meet regularly, they organise all the ride rotas,  marketing, ride-leader courses, social events, kit etc.  So the main area of admin that has expanded is treasury and membership admin, and, as you are aware, we’ve split this into two, whereas Paul White previously did both, Tom Button is now responsible for membership admin.


The other main statement I want to make is about Finances. You might expect the club to have to be putting money into VSCC to get it started, money for affiliations, promo etc, but VSCC is already in profit!  The simple arithmetic is;

·         include all the membership fees for cycling-only members,

·         deduct a proportion that we pay to Leos for membership,

·         and add profits from events organised by VSCC in particular the Cycle Maintenance Course

·         deduct costs e.g. promo posters and business cards

·         and this is positive - note that this is without any accounting adjustments to say if a VS running member also cycles, a proportion of the membership fees should go to VSCC.


Some of the worry about finances was the information that VSCC has purchased two bicycles and was holding courses for leaders. But all of this has been funded by the West Yorkshire Go Cycling grant. Also some of the promo has been funded by the Grant. This is all risk-free. The terms and conditions of the grant is that it is in 3 phases, the expenditure for each phase is agreed in advance, and then reviewed before the next phase is released.


I hope that all Valley Striders members will support the continuation of this latest expansion / diversification of the Club!




Stop Press!  At a meeting late last week between Go:Cycling and Valley Striders (represented by Andy, Bob, Dan and Ged), the progress of the first phase of the Go:Cycling project was approved and V S have been awarded money for the second phase which will be used for a third bike and to put 12 more members on a leader course.


Links :

·         VSCC website page  (or just go to V S website and click on “Cycling” link on top banner)

·         VSCC facebook  

·         Valley Striders organisation chart (this is available from the “For Club Members” link on top banner of website)

·         Go:Cycling website

·         Please support 22 VSCC members riding the coast-to-coast raising funds for Yorkshire Air Ambulance