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Horsham Youth Cycling Club

Horsham Youth Cycling Club

Finding the Right Sport
Have you always found football too competitive, the rules of rugby too confusing, or cricket a wasted day if you happen to be bowled first ball? Then how about jumping on a mountain bike and improving your skills with Horsham Youth Cycling Club?

About the Club
Horsham Junior Cycling Club (HYCC) was set up about five years ago for riders aged between seven and fifteen-years-old. A team of qualified and experienced riders, led by Sam Tichband, take the session, held every Saturday morning at 10am-12pm. Some parents of club members have become trained leaders too.

Always a Challenge
Sometimes the riders are given coaching in skills, jumps and techniques. This can include fun activities aimed at improving your abilities, such as a 'limbo' game in which riders have to adopt a low riding profile, and slalom style courses. Some aspects help improve your general bike maintenance skills, whilst coaches also give young riders a better understanding of gear changing, braking and bike control.

It can be Mucky
More often than not, the riders all go out on a route together. Sometimes that'll be on the Downs Link, but riders regularly go to Leechpool Woods, Leith Hill, Cissbury Ring, Chesworth Farm, and Roosthole or Middle Hill in St Leonard's Forest. What with all of the delightful weather we've had in recent months, mums who shout 'Try not to get too dirty!' as you head out the door will probably be disappointed.

Not an Extreme Sport
This is not extreme mountain biking. It's a great opportunity for youngsters to enjoy themselves and improve as cyclists, but there will be no riding along the edge of a cliff. It may be that, one day, members might take it upon themselves to seek more extreme challenges, but the HYCC sticks to relatively easy road and off-road routes and courses.

It can be Competitive
Not every member likes to enter competitions, but the club does hold race days every few months for those who want to enter. There is a programme on the club website at www.hycc.co.uk and members are also kept up to date by regular emails. These pictures were taken at a specially-prepared track for a competition day at Middle Hill, where the club welcomed riders from other clubs such as VC Jubilee in Brighton and Wigmore CC of Kent.

A Fixture Clash
Horsham Youth Cycling Club usually attracts between 15-20 cyclists each week, but it could be a lot more. Obviously, many youngsters play football on a Saturday morning. But the timing is partly deliberate, as Ian Ford, who is the Sports Development Officer for Horsham District Council, says. "We are keen to provide opportunities for children who may not be into the mainstream team sports. The aim is to provide physical exercise opportunities for all children, as not all of them are keen on football. They would much rather ride on their bikes."

A Big Push for Cycling
HYCC is part of Go-Ride, which is a campaign by British Cycling to increase the number of young people riding and improve their bike handling skills. Through this link, and because of support by the local council, sessions can be provided very cheaply for the riders. So each two hour Saturday morning session costs only £4. All you need otherwise is a bike and a helmet. Brakes that actually work would be handy too.

More Riding to Come
There is currently a bit of a gap between the HYCC and the very successful Horsham Cycling Club. So the clubs are developing a link with Collyer's College to encourage 16-18 year-olds. Ian said: "Horsham Cycling Club, the senior club, is taking a greater interest in young cyclists coming through and they were involved in a taster event we held at the college. Hopefully, we'll work together to evolve that group." It could also be that extra HYCC rides are added during the week in the summer too, depending on there being enough qualified coaches to lead the rides.

Watch the Videos
Sam often rides with a camera attached to his helmet, and several of his videos can be seen on the club website at www.hycc.co.uk If you'd like to know more email ian.ford@horsham.gov.uk or call 01403 215634. You can also email sam.tichband@horshamyouth.org.uk

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