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Lochaber’s reputation as a world-class mountain bike destination has been given another boost after the area’s foremost bike club won a prestigious prize recently at the Scottish Mountain Bike Awards.
West Highland Wheelers scooped the Club of the Year prize at the recent national awards ceremony at Aviemore. The award comes after another successful year for the Wheelers and recognises the hard work of all the volunteers and parents who help the club in various other ways.
Members originally set up a children’s section of the club to promote and develop responsible mountain biking among children in the area. Based on a ‘club ride led by adult volunteers’ model rather than paying coaches and having kids dropped off, the club has grown year on year grow sustainably and up to 50 children join in on their Saturday rides.
Doug Little, chairman of the West Highland Wheelers, said: ‘Winning Scottish Mountain Bike Club of the Year shows recognition of the fact that so many people volunteer their time for the club. This has resulted in the club growing with an increasingly popular kids club and more well-attended club events.
‘Club members help out in so many different ways such as baking cakes for events and fundraisers, sending out emails, organising, marshalling and timekeeping at races, helping lead kids’ rides – the list is endless! There is a very strong volunteer ethos and this has contributed to the growth and success of the club.’
There was also an individual honour to be handed out to Wheelers veteran Steve Bradley, who was named Local Hero of the Year. Nominated by the youngsters in his riding team, club members were particularly proud of Bradley’s award and said his contribution to the Wheelers embodies the ethos of the club.
Doug said: ‘He gives his time up to take kids groups out riding, developing not only their riding skills but also their respect and understanding of the trails and environment in which they ride.
‘He spends a large amount of time maintaining trails and leads volunteer work parties (including kids) on trail maintenance as well as helping organise races. He also continues to compete and ride at a high level.’
The club hosted the second round of its winter league series on Sunday at Glen Loy, with 28 riders competing on a fun course with long steep ascents and technical descents. James Shirley took victory, with Joe Barnes and Donald Paterson finishing close behind him.
The club would like to thank Mark Clark for organising and Katie for providing post race tea and cakes.