FAQs   Below you will find some our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). If you cannot find the answer to your question, please contact us, and someone from the club will try to answer it.

How long has PPYCC been running?

The club was founded in 2000, and has been going from strength to strength earning Club Mark status in 2007 and winning Brighton and Hove Sports Club of the Year in 2008.

Where and when does the club meet and ride?

Between March and October the club typically meets at Preston Park Cycle Track every Satuday between 10 and 12 AM. Please check our club calendar to confirm details of our next club session. The club also meets less often during the winter months. Again, please check the club calendar for details. Where to find usAge restrictions?The club is aimed at children from 8 to 18 but all ages can join.

How much does membership cost?

See membership section here.

How much does it cost to attend a club session?

Sessions are £3.00. There is an annual membership fee of £20 [£10 second and other siblings or second claim members] . Occasionally the club travels away from Brighton (Calshot near Portsmouth for track racing during the winter and mountain bike trips during the summer have proved popular). For these type of events, there may be additional costs.

What do I need to bring if I want to join in on a club session?

In addition to your session fee (£3.00 ), please bring:

  • Your helmet
  • Appropriate clothing and footwear
  • A drink and a snack
  • Track mitts or gloves ( These will protect your hands in the event of a fall as well as keep your hands warm.)
  • Your bike!

What do I need to bring if I want to join in on a road ride session?

We are not currently charging for road ride sessions. Please note appropriate clothing is absolutely essential as cycling is a cold sport on all but the warmest days. Road cyclists do not usually wear a rucksack, but if you do not have purpose designed clothing and equipment this may be necessary :

  • Rain protection
  • Tyre levers, puncture repair kit, spare inner tube, pump and simple tools e.g. hexagon key set or multi-tool.
  • Mobile phone or money to make use a public phone

Further advice from member Joe Hill explains:

“We meet early at the track so we can leave promptly at 9:30am. All riders sign on with an emergency contact details and medical conditions if any. Everyone is expected to make sure their bike is roadworthy, brakes work and tyre pressures are correct. The coach asks that everyone has a pump,  spare inner  tube,  tyre levers, multi tool, money, drink  and a snack. The coach reminds us to ride safely.

The route is planned by a coach usually but sometimes riders suggest a route. We usually head north out of Brighton on the A23 cycle path and warm up for the first 5-10 minutes. We stop at the lay-by at Waterhall and the coach tells us the plan. We ride in a group, in pairs when it’s safe to do so; we’ve practiced this a lot at the track and swap over riders on the front. We usually ride about 30 miles in 2 hours or so. There are lots of good cycling roads outside Brighton, it’s gently rolling terrain mainly but we do have Ditchling Beacon and the Devil’s Dyke on the South Downs which are good to improve our hill climbing skills. We always stop somewhere safe to talk about what we will do next and to make sure we have a drink. Sometimes we will split into different ability groups and do a circuit, set the slower riders off first, followed by the faster ones so they arrive at the end at the same time. Where it is safe on quieter roads we sprint up the hills then get back into a group to ride on. We head back to Preston Park taking care on the roads back into town as there is usually lots more traffic.

How can I get involved in racing at a higher level?

Read this document on Racing for the club and free kit: Racing for the club and free kit

Track riding at a higher level, member’s views

Member Georgina Burnett writes:

“a few tips that may help others to prepare for the upcoming race seasons either down at Preston Park or up at Lee Valley.

1. A useful thing to get confident on is being able to use your rollers, this may be hard at first and take a lot of practice but once you’ve got the hang of it they will become very useful to keep warm in-between races.

2. BC Warmup this is a 30 minute workout that once you’ve gotten good at I would recommend using before races but first I will link it to this email so that you can have a go at it and practice it over the next upcoming weeks. The BC Warmup is very useful when it comes to getting your leg speed/Cadence up, this help to prevent bouncing out of your saddle on the tracks when you are trying your hardest and not quite going as fast as hoped.

In the first few weeks after about 12 of the 20 lap Race it will be hard and you will drift off the back of the Peloton and you may even get pulled out by the Commissaire but after your first 2-3 weeks you would have gotten a feel for the pace and then would be able to adjust the training to your liking.

3.) Going out for Saturday/Sunday rides. I know this is an obvious one but sometimes does get forgotten, an extra 20-30 miles on your legs always helps and will assist you when it comes to staying with the peloton on long distance races for example 20 lap races. Once you have gotten used to going distances like this (Not saying that you can’t already) you could consider adding short sprinting periods along quiet roads to get endurance for when you sprint (also may make you feel better when you drop the person you ride with).

4.) Timings of when you eat. Again another easy one but many people under estimate the amount of time you need to leave between your eating and racing. I would suggest 3 hours but I know this is not always possible so if you only have 1-2 make sure you don’t eat as much as your usually do and no sugary things eg chocolate.

These are all the main things I do to prepare for racing. If there is any things you’d like to suggest don’t be afraid to message my dad or to enquire about any of the above tips.”

Member Izzy Stone writes

 I will give you a brief insight to the RSRs, overall they have been really fun and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know so many new people and new skills. RSRs are great experiences for anyone looking into racing a bit more seriously at youth levels. For both, track and road RSRs, there are specific sessions over the 4/5 in the series that focus on specific races and how to master the race tactically and skilfully. They are really useful to be involved in, especially if you are just coming into cycle racing like I was 2 years ago. Also, it’s really great getting to know the BC regional coaches because they can give you some experienced advice and can always pass your name on to other coaches when selection processes are being made. Over the last two years I had been selected for many RSRs and from there and racing I was fortunate enough to be selected for the Prudential Ride London youth GP, a nation event that you may have heard of.
Not only skills and fitness wise, RSRs are also great to meet other female cyclists like yourself who are looking to ride and race competitively, it’s always nice racing with people you know because then you know how to beat them! All of the RSRs are physically demanding but as long as you give 100% then you’ll love them!

Track riding at a higher level, parent’s views

From parent Richard Burnett:

What you need:

UK TRACK Accreditation at Lee Valley (other venues like Herne Hill, Bournemouth are introducing their own versions of this), without this they will not let you race there. What it involves is turning up on 4 consecutive weeks for a 2 hour session that you are coached by Lee Valley up to a standard that they think will make you good and safe enough rider to race on their Track. This cannot be done in just one or two visits.

We spent every Monday of last October travelling up there to get her accredited. Due to her Track experience at Preston Park I would say she easily was one of the better skilled cyclists on the course, so your time at Preston Park Track will serve you well.

You must have a current BC licence, after you have passed the course you then ask BC to send you an up to date BC Licence with the terms UK Track Accredited printed on it. (You will need to present this on the Race nights and surrender the licence to the ‘sign on team’ to get your race numbers. Also every night your bike is gear checked.

The competition is tough. The racing is fast. The other girls are strong. 

Training starts now!

As a parent you have to pick up daughter straight from school and get on the motorway to Lee Valley. (M23,M25 and A2 thru Blackwall Tunnel is the best route for me). On a good day you will get there by 5pm, on a bad night 7pm all depends on the Dartford and Blackwall Tunnel Traffic. If you leave no later than 3.30pm you should be ok as you tend to be ahead of the rush hour traffic.You need to take some food with you for her to eat on the way there, and some food for her to eat after her last race. Racing finishes around 9.30 and you will not get home before 11pm. Take a pillow and a blanket so she can sleep on the way back, otherwise Friday at school will be tough. The League is run every fortnight, it is tough but enjoyable and quite an experience. Start November and goes onto end of March 2016, only 9 races this winter as one of the weeks in February is busy with UCI stuff. Each race night costs about £10 to enter.

From Allan Stone

There will be lots of running around and traveling for Mums and Dads but regarding the RSR and BC (British Cycling), its a great platform for you to move forward if
they are interested in you, its you the rider who has to work hard on you bike. I underline ownership to Izzy, BC it seems to me, are after individuals who can think for themselves, are independent, wish to learn and push themselves.

Your family will be your support and has to be there but it is you and only you that can take the next step, at the RSR, you will get like minded children, some who are really dedicated and strong but from looking on as a Dad are a great bunch and a great bunch to be around. If you are racing and on this programme and are doing well, your name will start popping up and you will be asked or be selected for different things, like the Prudential youth GP, which Izzy loved.

Visiting Calshot velodrome   It is unlikely that Calshot has enough hire bikes and shoes to fit everyone and so you may wish to consider taking a club bike with you. Calshot is the world’s [probably] shortest velodrome at 147 metres long. It is a proper banked track, very easy to ride and very exciting.  Please note that usually Calshot is colder inside than the weather outside and this is particularly a problem for spectators. For riders you need warm clothing and should not be riding in shorts. Helmet, gloves or mitts are all essential as is a snack and drink. Calshot is 90 miles from Brighton and cannot reasonably be driven in less than 90 minutes and two hours is a sensible time. It is best to arrive up to an hour in advance of the session to enjoy your visit fully. This is an exciting opportunity for members to ride on fixed gear bikes indoors. For those who wish to make a day of it, Calshot has many other activities and is near to the New Forest . Please see http://www.hants.gov.uk/calshot/ for more information about the centre.

How can I order club kit?

We have a high quality kit which you can order from us by visiting the dedicated section of our website. It’s specially made to order and we will order it once or twice a year. Be patient when ordering as it always take a long time to arrive no matter which company we chose to supply it. We usually have a stock of jerseys, ask at the club if you would like one of these.

How can I get free club kit?

To encourage our older members to race more widely we have an incentive; any Youth A, B or C members who race in 5 counting events can qualify for a free piece of kit of their choice. Members can ride events outside of Sussex which attract BC points. This includes races at any of the following venues where the results are published on the British Cycling website. Hog Hill [Redbridge Cycle Circuit], Hillingdon Cycle Circuit, Foul Mead Cycle Circuit,  Cyclo Park, Kent and any velodrome outside of Sussex. Each of these venues only counts once. Most of these events can be found on the British Cycling website calendar section. You can also qualify by entering regional or national races in or beyond Sussex including all regional omniums, BSCA races, NSRs and RSRs and the DHL Sprint schools. For BC events entry forms, maps etc. are all provided from the link to each event in their calendar. The BSCA event can be found on the BSCA website www.bsca.org.uk . For DHL Sprint School riders nominate themselves to anthony@ppycc.org.uk and we put names forward with other local clubs.

Borrowing a club bike

Club bikes are available for borrowing during club sessions free of charge. First come first served.

Keeping a club bike at home

You may wish to make a longer term use of a club bike and keep it at home. This is free of charge but the club expects bikes to be returned in good condition and for the temporary owner to take responsibility for maintenance and repairs including accident damage. To borrow a bike it is expected that you are likely to be using it weekly and racing it during the racing season.

Where can I find a racing bike?

We have found that most riders under the age of 10 (and indeed some under the age of 12) will need a bike with 24″ wheels. Unfortunately, racing bikes this size are very difficult to come by in this country. Kids in the club have managed to find bikes from an amazing variety of sources, including classified ads (try Loot and the Friday-Ad), relatives on the Continent and even the dump! We have also heard rumours that Brixton Bikes in London is able to special order Peugeot kid’s racers from France. Perseverance pays off, so don’t get discouraged if none of these routes pays off. The club also has a few old road bikes available to lend, so let us know if you haven’t been able to get a hold of a bike, and we may be able to help or guide you.For older and taller riders, there are, of course, many more options. Many “Triathlon” bikes have slightly smaller 26″ inch wheels, which may be ideal for someone who isn’t quite tall enough bikes with 27″/700c wheels. Baker Street Bikes in Brighton is a good place to start, but if you are serious about racing and not sure what to get, it may be useful to come along and speak to one of the coaches.

What are the age categories for racing?

There are five youth age categories: under 16, under 14, under 12, under 10 and under 8. For full details of these age categories and associated gear restrictions, please read the Gear Restrictions and Age Categories  document.

How do I enter races?

It depends on the type of race. Races may be pre-entry only, entry on the line [EOL] only or both pre-entry and EOL. When both it usually costs more to EOL. For EOL you just turn up and fill in an entry sheet [and sometimes a form as well] on the day. When you pre-enter you must use the correct entry sheet. Most races are covered by the three entry forms which are: a British Cycling road race entry form, a British Cycling track entry form and a BSCA entry form.  BC Road Entry, BC Track Entry, BSCA Entry

Do I need to own a track bike in order to race at the track?

No. All our riders in the club regularly train with track bikes. Events at Preston Park on Wednesday are require under 12, 14 and 16 year categories to race on track bikes. We have a large number of these bikes and will lend them out to club riders for Wednesday night racing and other track events. The Wednesday night racing is organised by the Sussex Cycling racing league click here for details.

How safe is it?

Although no sport or outdoor activity is 100% safe, at PPYCC we have an excellent safety record. Our coaches are fully BCF qualified Club Coaches, and no club session is permitted to take place without at least one in attendance. As fully qualified coaches, they also hold first aid certificates and have been clearance to work with young people.

Do I need to become a member of British Cycling?

If you join the club, a portion of your club fees goes towards membership of the British Cycling Federation. Membership confers many benefits, including reduced entry fees and insurance. Please visit the British Cycling Federation website for further details.

Does the club have any riders interested in BMX?

PPYCC has mainly track and road riders and also has an interest in mountain biking and cyclo-cross riding. We don’t currently have any BMX riders, but many of the activities we do during our club sessions are suitable for those on BMX bikes. If you’re not sure, come along and try it out.