Date: Tuesday, 10 October 2017

This is the first of a regular column that's designed to highlight what the various cycling codes are doing and how you can get involved from either a participant or spectator perspective.

Southland has a proud history when it comes to cycling and we want to get more people of all ages and abilities to embrace getting around on two (or three) wheels.

There's so much happening in the cycling world that it's hard to know exactly where to start.

One of the most visible aspect is the work that's ongoing on new cycle tracks and trails throughout Southland – the Invercargill to Bluff trail is progressing, while the Te Anau to Manapouri walking and cycling trail is going to be outstanding when it's finished.

Work is happening behind the scenes on the Cycling in Southland strategy, with representatives from the four councils and other organisations coming together to plot a path for cycling throughout the province.

At Cycling Southland, home of the road and track codes, there's been a noticeable increase in the number of young people wanting to take up cycling as a sport.

We recently ran an Intro to Road Cycling series of workshops and had more than 25 youngsters taking part, while our term-long Learn to Ride Track programme has been over-subscribed.

Many of those new riders now have a year to prepare for the Yunca Junior Tour of Southland, which was successfully held at the weekend, attracting 106 riders from as far north as Kaitaia.

The level of ability across the various grades was phenomenal and produced some of the best quality racing that many have seen.

Many of those riders have stayed in the south for training camps, a junior track carnival and the South Island Schools Track Championship at the SIT Velodrome this week.

Numbers involved in road racing appear to be increasing and that will be bolstered even further with the return of the popular midweek summer racing series, Wednesday Worlds, resuming on October 25 at Tisbury School.

This series provides an invaluable introduction to road racing for riders of all ages and abilities and all are welcome.

The Southland BMX Club is hosting its open day at the Elizabeth Park track (the end of Lime St) on Sunday, between 1.30pm and 3.30pm.

This is for anyone – regardless of age – who wants to have a go at BMX. Bikes and helmets will be available and there will also be demonstrations.

The next big event for the Southland Mountain Bike Club is the Cross Country Championships at Bluff Hill on November 5.

Finally, the SBS Bank Tour of Southland is barely a month away – cue jokes about the bad weather looming – with similar rider numbers expected to last year's 60th anniversary race.

This is an iconic race of national significance so make sure you keep an eye out for all the action.

To get involved check out the Facebook pages of each organisation or visit the Cycling Southland, Southland BMX Club or Southland Mountain Bike Club websites.

*Mark Hotton is the general manager of Cycling Southland

 - Stuff

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