Cyclists plan to establish new club in Murray Bridge

About 30 locals have signed up to be founding members of a club dedicated to road and track cycling.

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Murray Bridge’s newest sporting club is about to be born.

A cycling club will be established locally after about 30 people voted in favour of the idea at a meeting at the White Park Community Clubrooms on Tuesday night.

Almost all volunteered to become founding members.

The club will be an evolution of the Murray Bridge Derailleurs, an informal cycling group which has met for social rides since 2012.

One of the three local men who called the meeting, Ian Hunt, said a club would be better able to help its members explore new cycling routes, improve their technique and meet like-minded people.

“There’s a sense of belonging you get from being in a club,” he said.

“Some people don’t do any sports ... they don’t know what they're missing out on.”

The club may organise road or track races, training rides and perhaps even triathlons.

Another of the meeting’s organisers, Doug Issell, hoped the club could lobby the Murray Bridge council for a velodrome or another racing facility in the longer term.

“You learn very quickly the skills of cycling when you step onto a bike track,” he said.

That would represent a first for Murray Bridge since the 1960s, when a local cycling club staged races on a track at Le Messurier Oval.

Cycling SA will support locals’ plans

Peak body Cycling SA has already thrown its support behind the idea of starting a club.

Chief executive officer Lachie Ambrose – who attended the meeting – said he was encouraged at the level of support locals had shown for cycling events of all kinds, from the pedal prix to July’s state championships at Mypolonga.

Murray Bridge would be the perfect place for a club, he said, with a strong sense of community and plenty of families who were already passionate about cycling.

The club would not only be able to deliver training and organise races, he said, but could offer other benefits, including discounts for members and advocacy on their behalf.

Cycling Australia’s Tim Decker said he was shocked that Murray Bridge did not already have a club.

The coach of a gold medal-winning Australian team at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, himself a past winner of races including the Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic, said his years at the Horsham Cycling Club had helped him become who he was today.

“It helped create direction, it helped fill a void of just riding my BMX around the streets and being a little terror, or riding my road bike and going through red lights, doing the wrong thing,” he said.

“It helped change and foster the way I approached things.

“That happens to a lot of people.”

He showed a photo from his childhood: a group of nine Horsham club members in colourful 1980s exercise gear, two of whom went on to international success.

“As much as that photo can be embarassing ... we can be quite proud of the success some of them have gone on with,” he said.

“Without the club, there wouldn’t have been the direction to help create that.

“(A club) creates opportunity, it helps create a bit of structure, helps create friendships – life-long friendships – and can even help people to be successful.

“That impact that you have on a person through a club ... will be forever-lasting.”

Where to from here?

The next step in the formation of the club will be the drafting and finalising of a club constitution over the coming weeks.

The new club’s name has not yet been decided.

Photos of Lachie Ambrose, Tim Decker, Phil Rosewall, Ian Hunt and Doug Issell; and of the socially distanced crowd at Tuesday night’s meeting: Peri Strathearn.

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