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Monday morning rant…

This letter from a reader has sparked a heated debate here at RCUK. Why enter British Cycling events when they cost so much?

Dear Editor,
I am a member of the TLI and the LVRC.   I started racing in local time trials  a mere 5 years ago at the age of  50 so even though I am older than many people who race I am a bit of a novice. For the last 4 years I have concentrated on road races.

I haven’t joined BC because they don’t have many races for people my age,  they are very expensive compared to the £16 to join the TLI and £12.00 to join the LVRC.  Race entry fees for the TLI and LVRC are only £6.00  and there aren’t as many BC races locally as there are LVRC and TLI. I live near Oswestry in Shropshire.

With the TLI and LVRC I plan to take part in 34 races this season and I won’t need to travel more than 80 miles for any of the races. All will be highly competitive and yet in your events listing there is no mention of LVRC or TLI races.  I take great pleasure from your pages however I think that you could be accused of being ageist or elitist by not making any mention of the LVRC and TLI.  The TLI usually run 2 races at a time,  one for under 40’s and one for over 40’s.  In TLI events there is usually a larger field in the over 40’s race than the races for the younger people.  I don’t know what the average age  of your members is but I expect that there are as many over 40 as there are under 40.

Both the TLI and the LVRC have websites which say what events are on.  In my opinion it would advance the cause of cycle racing if you included races by these organisations in your events list as well as the BC ones.

The sun is shining so I must get out. Best wishes and keep up the good work.

Martin Williams.

RC
One reason to join BC – help team GB!
(© Larry Hickmott)

Thanks Martin. You’ve brought up some interesting points. Firstly our events system is in it’s infancy but rest assured that we are working hard to get all the possible UK road events into it ASAP. We would like it to be the biggest and most comprehensive events guide in the UK – and it’s nearly there already! The LVRC and the TLI can easily update this information themselves or (as I have suggested to them) supply this information electronically and we can upload it for them. Eventually we want race organisers to add their race and contact details themselves, as this is a FREE service to allow the organisers to make sure that they have a full field for their race.

We have had to contact no fewer than 12 associations in the UK to collect the RCUK data – you can imagine that it’s a major undertaking. So if you are in a club that organises races you should let the events organiser or club secretary know that they attract more entries by advertising their events on RCUK and don’t forget, once again, it’s FREE.

Secondly, there are many issues involved in organising races and there is a lot of history to consider before discussing these issues. The current BC organisation is now far more condensed than ever and many of the issues they are criticised for are now being addressed. Slowly (and thankfully) all the individual disciplines and associations are coming together under the BC umbrella – and this can only be regarded as a good thing.

New riders and many foreign racers visiting the UK often comment on how many membership payments, association affiliations and local leagues there are in the UK and how confusing it all becomes… Although this appears to display a strong racing community, I have heard that it means cycle racing as a whole is taken less seriously at higher levels, I also feel it just shows that we are spread a little too thinly.

So why join BC? Well everyone has their reasons but for me it’s a mixture of support for the sport nationally and internationally with additional self interest. BC offer the most comprehensive racing/training insurance policy – thus allowing you to ride and race with peace of mind.

My previous criticisms of BC still stand. Their lack of support for the plight of Herne Hill velodrome, the decline in the road race scene in general and the Manchester-centric Elite track/road team shenanigans still exist… but they still doesn’t stop me from defending and highlighting their considerable achievements with the GB squad and their excellent work on Youth development nationally. These very positive things matter more to our sport’s long term future and its image – just look at the coverage the World Championships received in the national press – this is by far the best way to improve conditions for cycle racing in the UK.

There is no doubting the job that the TLI and the LVRC (among many others) do for racing (and yes I think they do a great job) but surely the future of cycling, and it’s credibility, has to be with one united voice rather than several? What do you think?

Links
the League of Veteran Racing Cyclists (LVRC)

The League International (TLI)

British Cycling (BC)

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