We all know that reviewing the race over a cup of tea and a piece of cake at the HQ with friends and clubmates is one of the most enjoyable parts of competitive cycling. So why not be one of the people who makes that possible? You'll need to be able to make a mean cup of tea, but you do get to sneakily eat some cake when everyone is out riding.
Bread and butter volunteering. It's not glamorous but it is one of the most important jobs on the race - keeping riders safe and making sure they go the right way. What's more, nearly all the riders are jealous too, as they come past on the rivet and see you basking comfortably in the sun. Becoming an accredited marshal gives you the power to ask traffic to stop (think lolly-pop man or lady), some training is required.
No, not like Lewis Hamilton… But if you're lucky you'll get to mount flashing lights on your car roof and quietly pretend you're a 25mph version of Starsky and Hutch. You'll help keep the riders safe and often provide a commissaire or similar with their all important viewing platform — plus you'll have an excellent view of the race yourself.
Keeping everyone honest, and ensuring the race runs off smoothly, the commissaire is to cycling what a referee is to football, and there will usually be more than one. You'll need to attend a course to learn how to be a commissaire - though it's a straightforward process so don't let that put you off.
Sounds daunting but if you're taking over the running of an event from somebody, they are likely to be able to offer you all the advice you need. Even if you're starting something from scratch, someone will be able to help. And you won't have to do everything yourself — delegation is a large part of event organising. There's not much more rewarding than watching people enjoying the race or ride you organised on the day. Go for it!
Sign up and get involved
Get involved and help the sport you love by registering your interest in giving back this year. As cyclists, we've all benefited from volunteering — let's put something back in. You can choose how much you do and when you do it, but it starts by adding you name
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In a world of digital chips and sensors, the ability to time a race using a stopwatch is regarded by some as a mysterious art form, the mastery of which is achievable only by spending years in study in a foreign mountain retreat. Which of course is nonsense. Get yourself on a timekeepers course and help make racing happen.
Get everyone's time trial off to a good start with a steady hand and a 'have a good ride'. A smile and a few encouraging words can also make all the difference to any rider feeling a bit nervous before the event too.
From chairman to secretary and the good old soc. sec., You don't have to have a specialism to sit on a committee, but there are plenty of roles available if you feel one suits a particular skill of yours, or is something you'd like to develop. It can be great socially and will put you at the heart of the way your club is run and what it offers riders.
Those signs don't put themselves up, you know, or take themselves down for that matter. Often those two jobs are done, almost unnoticed, by different people and are usually quite simple, but they are crucial to rider safety and enjoyment.
Another crucial role in bike racing is risk assessment. You don't have to be formally qualified to do this; your cycling experience — combined with common sense is what qualifies you. Think about the event, drive the course, note the potential hazards; take steps to minimise them. A key role.
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Having trained as a journalist at Cardiff University I spent eight years working as a business journalist covering everything from social care, to construction to the legal profession and riding my bike at the weekends and evenings. When a friend told me Cycling Weekly was looking for a news editor, I didn't give myself much chance of landing the role, but I did and joined the publication in 2016. Since then I've covered Tours de France, World Championships, hour records, spring classics and races in the Middle East. On top of that, since becoming features editor in 2017 I've also been lucky enough to get myself sent to ride my bike for magazine pieces in Portugal and across the UK. They've all been fun but I have an enduring passion for covering the national track championships. It might not be the most glamorous but it's got a real community feeling to it.
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