The handful of weeks that can loosely be described as the off-season at Cycling Southland are over with the restart of our weekend club road racing series on Saturday.
Not that it's been a restful time for the club. Plans are in place for the 2013 WHK Corporate Pursuit with our 29 teams circling the velodrome as they learn the ropes and refine their combinations ahead of next month's race days. Final details are being confirmed for Cycling Southland's hosting of two international track cycling events in November (watch this space) and there's the small matter of continuing preparations for our junior and senior cycling tours of Southland.
The Junior Tour will be held from October 4 to 6 and will again be headlined by one of Southland's longest running sponsorships by Yunca Heating. The Yunca Tour has become a rite of passage for New Zealand's best road talent locally and nationally for the best part of 30 years. Even in the short three-year history I've seen first-hand, it is obvious the role this event and Yunca's outstanding on-going support plays in developing the country's most promising riders into talents who have the opportunity to take those skills on a world stage.
The other feature of the last week was the announcement of Cycling Southland's partnership with Road Safety Southland.
The Share the Road message has been a fixture in the Tour of Southland peloton over recent years but this year the message will not be confined to one team, but the entire event with Road Safety Southland becoming a major feature sponsor for this year’s Tour.
Road Safety Southland Road User Safety Advisor Jane Ballantyne, her off-sider Maureen Deuchrass, Sport Southland and our outstanding local Police Education Officers have done a great job delivering this vitally important message over recent years and together we're all committed to continuing to share the same road, same rules, same rights message as widely as possible.
A few words from Jane herself. “We’ve been delighted with the profile the team has provided us over the last few years, but this new partnership gives us the chance to re-energise the Share the Road message in New Zealand’s most recognised cycling event. With more bikes on the roads, this message becomes increasingly important and to do it with Cycling Southland through the Tour and through the year makes perfect sense.”
Our Tour of Southland partnership is only the first step in an on-going relationship with Road Safety Southland. Share the Road is a shared responsibility. Too often the debate becomes a cyclist verses motorist one or vice versa when cyclists, motorists and pedestrians all have a job to do to keep themselves and each other safe. This isn’t going to be told over a couple of weeks every November, it’s a year-round message and one we both plan to have front and centre throughout the entire year.
There's no better place to start than as we build-up and then deliver New Zealand's feature road cycling event.
Nick Jeffrey is Chief Executive of Cycling Southland