Not before time British Cycling is to look at the category system for road racing. After an unprecedented spate of crashes among fourth-cat riders the BC membership voted for an investigation at last weekend’s AGM.
Current thinking is that riders can move up too quickly from the lowest ranking, with just one win enough to make it to third category. Racers are certainly fit enough but don’t necessarily have the skill set to match. Conversely, being trapped on the bottom rung with no obvious way up isn’t too appealing. The plan is to get more people racing, not put them off.
So what’s to be done? BC needs to train its membership. It used to be done by cycling clubs, but now many riders skip to a couple of sportives at best before taking out a race licence.
Training races have to be the solution. Many riding skills are intuitive but obviously not all, judging by the number of spills this season. It’s a mistake to take things for granted and we forget that we were all once novices.
It takes practice to take a corner at speed, to bump shoulders and stay upright. Unless we show the next generation of riders how it’s done, how else are they going to learn?
Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly magazine