Big Heron offers bikes and gear to talented youngsters

Bike company Raleigh is looking for talented young riders for its Rider Support programe for the 2014 season. The programme provides up-and-coming UK-based cyclists with bikes and equipment from Raleigh and is open to cyclists from road, time-trial, triathlon and track disciplines.

Raleigh says the support provided will depend on the disciplines of the chosen riders but is likely to include at least one racing bike plus a selection of components from Raleigh brand partners including High5 sports nutrition. 

Applicants must be 16 or over and will receive bikes and equipment, as well as a boost to their public profile that comes from being associated with one of the most well-respected brands in cycling.

"You don't need to be number one in your field, although that certainly helps," said Geoff Giddings, Raleigh marketing director, "but you do need to have the passion, drive, and above all, the right personality to make it onto our Rider Support programme."

Raleigh's support programme for 2013 has seen the company sponsor four ambitious cyclo-cross riders, Nick Barnes, Joe Atkins, Dylan Kerfoot-Robson and Harry Yates.

How to apply

There’s an application form on Raleigh’s rider support application page

Eligible riders must:

Be 16 years or over as of 1st January 2014.
Be based in the UK.
Have demonstrable race results from 2013.
Have an outline race calendar for 2014.
Be a member of a cycling team or club.
Commit to providing written and photographic reports on a regular basis.
Have permission of a parent or guardian if under 18.

The application period will end on Sunday December 22nd 2013 with successful riders being informed in the new year.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.