Break through season for Wellington track cycling?

I’m hearing lots of chatter about roadies guys wanting to give track a proper go. Speed League is growing nicely, developing great talent and is well organised and communicated – this season should be a big one for the Wellington Velodrome.

STAKES RAISED FOR BURKES CYCLES SPEED LEAGUE’S THIRD SEASON
October 10 2014

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With an influx of quality riders targeting track cycling and fresh new sponsors, the Burkes Cycles Speed League, which begins on November 2 at the Wellington Velodrome in Hataitai, is preparing for its biggest season yet.

During the summer-long, weekly track cycling competition which is organised by the Port Nicholson Poneke (PNP) Cycling Club, riders can pick up points in races graded according to ability and at the end of the season, titles are handed out for the men’s, women’s, under 15 and under 17 Champions. The leaders in each category have the honour of wearing specially designed Champion System jerseys.

New for 2014/15 is a teams competition sponsored by Zeal Commercial Interiors, in which the three highest scoring riders in each team have their points combined. The men’s and women’s The Lanes Sprint Ace contests, where the quickest of the quick are pitted against each other in one-on-one sprints, will return.

In the Coffee Supreme sponsored senior men’s and women’s categories, defending champions Nick Warren (Miramar) and Ele Pepperell (Ngaio) will face tougher competition than ever, with a number of road-based cyclists deciding to target track cycling for the summer. Grant Perry (Miramar), fourth overall in 2013/14, will aim to capitalise on the the backing of the previously road-centric Rivet Racing team.

Wellington boasts a number of talented under 19 riders who have come through the ranks to be primary animators at Speed League races. Seatoun’s Zac Blakely (sixth overall in 2014/15), Petone’s Louis Higgisson (The Lanes Sprint Ace champion 2013/14) and Karori’s Jon Barnes (under 17 winner 2012/13) will be keen for more glory.

Pepperell will face a strong challenge leading up to Christmas from Karori’s Ione Johnson, who has represented New Zealand most recently at the Oceania Track Championships, and Holly Blakely (Seatoun) who was the under 17 champion in 2013/14.

However the next wave of juniors including multiple Wellington champion Jordan Lewis (Belmont) and 2013/14 under 15 Speed League victor and national medalist George Jackson (Island Bay) are already coming through and will be gunning for valuable Speed League points. As well as local hitters, top Levin-based junior Thomas Garbett has confirmed he will race on a regular basis.

The Burkes Cycles Speed League begins on November 2, 2014 at the Wellington Velodrome in Hataitai and takes place every Sunday from 4-6pm through to the end of March 2015 with a break over Christmas.

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Teams Cycle Series a sign of the future?

Well done to Jorge Sandoval for the positive response he’s had for his new North Island Teams Series cycle races held in the Wairarapa. The first event was held last Saturday September 20 in grim conditions but was well attended.

In fact the series appears to have attracted a decent field despite the high entry fees – it costs $600 just to register a team, plus riders pays an entry fee for each race.

While Sandoval’s events can have a reputation of being a bit chaotic, he is trying something new it’s struck a chord. More racing on the calendar is a positive thing but the impact the series will have on local club events is yet to be seen.

The concern is that local clubs and races become irrelevant, while high-cost, professionally organised events become the future. Quite why riders are drawn to paying big bucks to do effectively the same thing as a five dollar club event is something volunteer organisers, such as myself, need to figure out.

Low key club events are still the backbone of the sport in New Zealand but we have to innovate or disappear from the cycling calendar.

Never let facts or balance get in the way of a good letter

It’s quite incredible the hatred and prejudicial emotions that are aroused by the mere idea that cyclists may actually get some return on the rates they pay. Here’s Heather Bevan spouting out more than a few untruths and inaccuracies.

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And let’s not get started on this guy who says in a blog post:

Something needs to be done about the antisocial behaviour of the majority of cyclists on Wellington’s roads, footpaths, trails and walkways.

“The majority of cyclists” he says. Utter unfounded tosh. Oh no, wait, he used to ride a bike when he was younger, so it’s perfectly alright to group all cyclists into one handy stereotype.

Peck off!

peckWell Councillor Peck sure has one thing right – cycling related controversy attracts a tonne of comments and clicks. As I’ve pointed out recently, I’m pretty sure Stuff.co.nz’s perpetual articles on car versus bike topics reflect an editorial policy that’s purely out to increase their stats without offering any useful insight. When was the last time an article appeared about how road funding actually works, or the pros and cons of bicycle registration? Never, that’s when. Instead we get endless tripe about how one road user group is annoying to the other one.

Advance Stop Lines – not everyone gets them yet

WP_20140514_001It’s great to see Advance Stop Lines (ASLs) appearing all over Wellington – they really help justifying moving to the front of lines of traffic when you’re on your bike, and make it much easier to get away from the lights quickly.

Not everyone is able to decipher what the bright green paint boxes and massive bicycle signs mean yet though. Super driving Combined Taxis!*

*Sarcasm.

Bonkers letter writer, Jack Ruben

At the risk of becoming a blog solely concerned with bonkers letter writers to the local rag, here’s a bonkers letter to the local rag from some chump called Jack Ruben:

Your story Heedless pedestrians push up crash stats (April 21) omits one vital reason for the increasing crash statistics – cyclists.

I suggest they are the cause of many accidents which go unreported because they wear no form of identification, and, having caused an accident, simply ride off at high speed, leaving the driver and pedestrian to sort it out.

I state this from personal experience. How can the public report such an incident? And who would take action and how?

I try not to be anti-cyclist, but they are their own worst enemies. They speed on pavements, putting pedestrians in danger, ignore traffic signals and road signs, ride up one-way streets the wrong way, and weave among traffic, causing damage to cars and simply ride off. I suggest you place a reporter and photographer in the CBD for just one day and then report.

Let’s not always blame only the pedestrians and drivers. Some of my best friends are cyclists, flashy lycra and all.

JACK RUBEN

Karori

I’m not going to waste time addressing the claims in this other than to say that Jack makes completely unsubstantiated claims with zero data to back them up. Lack of facts doesn’t stop it getting published in the Dom though.

Incidentally, our mate Jack is a former Wellington councillor who thinks squeezing more cars into the CBD is a brilliant idea and who seems to spend most of his time throwing his opinion around by writing letters to newspapers and commenting on articles. Sounds like he could really do with some fresh air – perhaps he could join “some of his (cycling) friends” on a bike ride?