The Trax is a thriving bike club working with riders of all ages and experience to develop cycling opportunities in the community. Mario Schmoltzi, one of the founders of the The Trax, gives the history:
“The Trax was formed in 2010 by a group of enthusiastic cyclists who had a vision of bringing more off-road cycling into London. We offered our first free weekly coaching sessions for kids with a CTC Mountain Bike Skills Instructor back in February 2010.
A growing club
“At our very first session 9 kids turned up. Since then, over 180 local kids have come along to our coaching sessions and races. Every Saturday, we run three coaching sessions, delivered by 10 fully-qualified coaches. The sessions range from beginner cycling to BMX-specific coaching. We are coaching 30-40 kids every weekend for free and they can even borrow bikes from us free of charge, if they don't have their own.
“Working with support from Bike Club has enabled The Trax to continue to grow. As well as bikes and equipment, we have been able to provide training for volunteers, which has meant that they can work with the ever-increasing number of people coming to our sessions.”
Mario is very conscious of the reputation that the Tottenham area has to those who don’t know it: “It’s sad that the riots from a year ago are (still) so strongly associated with Tottenham. We were coaching in the area on the weekends when the riots happened, and I didn't find the atmosphere during and after the events to be anything like the images shown on TV.”
“Providing opportunities for the local community is what The Trax set out to do. This is not only for the members of our Youth Club, who learn new bike skills every weekend, or the girls and women, who come to our rides to build their confidence on a bike, but also for the local volunteers who are obtaining coaching qualifications, gaining experience in organising events or even managing entire new projects – like opening a new bike workshop.
“The Trax provides the platform, and it's the people who bring along the ideas and energy to turn this into such an amazing project.”
Article based on a piece by Ian Warby, CTC. Photos, Frances Chaloner.
Bike Club is a joint initiative from UK Youth, ContinYou and CTC, the national cyclists’ organisation. The project works with children, young people and families to enable learning and encourage healthy lifestyles through cycling-based activities.
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