A YORK sporting institution is on the look out for junior members to join a programme which could see them emulate British Olympians.

Clifton Cycling Club (Clifton CC) is inviting young riders to go along to York Sport Village to develop skills and confidence under the guidance of certified coaches in the reassurance of a purpose-built track.

On Mondays and Saturdays, the one kilometre traffic-free, smooth circuit in Lakeside Way hosts a club environment for children who are already comfortable riding their bikes and emphasises fun and inclusivity.

York Press: Junior members of the club can take part in different disciplines of the sport like cyclocrossJunior members of the club can take part in different disciplines of the sport like cyclocross (Image: Clifton CC)

Recognised by their red and black kit across the region’s roads and lanes, the 128-year-old club has a youth and juniors programme endorsed by their status as one of British Cycling’s Go-Ride clubs.

Clifton CC is one of 350 clubs participating in the national governing body’s programme which helps riders from eight to 16 improve their handling of a bicycle, and develop their fitness and confidence.

If the riders wish, they can develop the essentials and progress to race-training on Thursdays, leading to participation in local or national competitions.

York Press: The club's junior programme includes a talent development session on Thursday evenings at York Sport VillageThe club's junior programme includes a talent development session on Thursday evenings at York Sport Village (Image: Kevin Glenton)

The club counts current Under 16 girls national circuit-racing champion Abigail Miller amongst its riders, but the group coaches were keen to emphasise the different pathways with a focus on participation and enjoyment.

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Katie Robinson has been with the club for six years since joining as a seven-year-old who turned up on a small, hybrid bike. 

She said: "Since then Clifton has taught me how to win races, be tactically aware and given me a good pedalling technique.

"Without Clifton I would still be on a slightly bigger hybrid bike and just riding to school and back.

"At Clifton there is a really friendly welcoming environment and you will be pushed to get faster without you even realising it."

Head coach Mike Moss said: “It’s about getting kids into sport and getting them active.

“We have officials at all levels and give the kids a safe environment to do that.

“It’s more about making friends and giving the kids a lot to enjoy.”

York Press: Abigail Miller in the Great Britain champion jerseyAbigail Miller in the Great Britain champion jersey (Image: Clifton CC)

The coaches all emphasised that turning up on the latest bikes was not necessary and that kids can turn up on any roadworthy bike for the entry level sessions – although they must have a helmet and suitable clothing for the conditions.

Riders will start out with the Saturday sessions for all abilities developing skills like improving cornering, riding in a group and general safety before moving into adding speed, fitness and endurance.

Only then do they move forwards, if they wish, to race-level training known as the Talent Development Centre.

York Press: The club programme extends to race-training and entry to competitionsThe club programme extends to race-training and entry to competitions (Image: Clifton CC)

Oli Moss, 16,  is part of this group and paid tribute to the assistance received in his progression.

He said: "My friends at school were more into football, so it was great to make friends who liked cycling too.

"It was really fun to learn new skills, like cornering and how to ride in a group – stuff I couldn’t do on my own or in the street! 

"As I got older, I started going to more training sessions, including the Talent Development Centre, which helped me improve my fitness and develop my skills further in cornering and group riding at speed!

"Clifton CC supported me in having a go at racing - I found out that it was something I loved doing - especially criterium races because I love the speed of them and the technical corners."

Members of the Clifton CC juniors have competed in road cycling under the British banner at the European Youth Olympic Festival and three of their under-10 riders, including winner Freddie Watson, were in the top-10 of a recent boys’ national event.

British Olympic track and road stars including Sir Jason Kenny and Dame Laura Trott started out their record-breaking sporting careers under the British Cycling junior programme.

When they are not involved in sessions at York Sport Village the young riders like to tackle local hill climbs such as the White Horse Bank near Sutton, and the winding minor roads in the Yorkshire Wolds and Howardian Hills. 

More information and times can be found at www.cliftoncc.org/youth-juniors-go-ride