Newport City Council has revealed a surge in the number of cyclists using the Wales National Velodrome, where Team GB and Paralympics GB’s track cyclists made their final preparations for London 2012. The growth in interest in the track is being directly attributed to the success over the summer of the country's top track riders.
Since April alone, 20,671 cyclists have used the velodrome in Newport – compared to 21,450 in the whole of 2011. The pre-Olympic and Paralympic training camps got a lot of media coverage locally, with some sessions open to the public resulting in capacity crowds, which also helped lead to huge interest from people wanting to take to the boards themselves.
As a result, all courses for people looking to try track cycling for the first time or improve on their existing skills are now fully booked until the new year, reports the South Wales Argus.
Councillor Debbie Wilcox, cabinet member for leisure and culture at Newport City Council, commented: “The increased interest in cycling is definitely a result of the ‘Olympic effect’ and it is wonderful that even more people are discovering the Velodrome.
“Its world-class facilities were certainly appreciated by the Olympic and Paralympic athletes, who spoke highly of their time at the training camps.
“However, the Velodrome can be used by anyone, from elite athletes to absolute beginners and that is what makes it so special.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.