It’s time for our penultimate Q&A of 2020 as King’s Lynn Cycling Club’s junior coach David Webster answers Gavin Caney’s questions
Can you remember your first bike? And have you always loved riding one?
It’s probably not my first bike but the one I remember the most was a Raleigh Tomahawk. My dad got it second hand and did it up for me. I remember building ramps and jumping off them with my mates. I didn’t get into cycling competitively until I stopped playing hockey at 42. Up until then cycling was just recreational.
How did you get into coaching at King’s Lynn Cycling Club?
I started coaching when I played hockey. I was forced to stop when work got in the way and cycling came along by accident as a way to keep fit when I was working away from home. I played hockey competitively for Cumbria u14s, u16s, u18s and RAF Strike Command as well as local clubs March Town, Wisbech and Pelicans.
I coached at various levels at these clubs but my proudest achievement was coaching March first team to the Division Three North West title at the first attempt and getting them back to higher-standard hockey.
I also coached Norfolk u16 boys for two seasons so, when I took up cycling, it wasn’t long before I started gravitating back towards the coaching.
Why coaching and was the move to it a natural progression from racing?
Not really. I had been a very competitive hockey player and my nature is naturally competitive but moving to competitive cycling at 42 with no previous background was always going to be hard going.
I am okay as a cyclist but I am never going to be a standout athlete, so in some small way by connecting with other cyclists – whether juniors or adults – through coaching, means I gain as much from their success as they do. As the saying goes; “Those that can – do, those that can’t – teach”.
What is your most notable cycle racing achievement?
I do tend to try lots of things as ‘a Jack of all trades, master of none’ type but, despite this, I have enjoyed some achievements on two wheels.
On the road I have achieved time trial personal bests for 10 mile (21 minutes 44 seconds), 25 mile (58.38) and 50 mile (1.59.04) and I have taken part in road and circuit racing where I hold a third category licence. My most notable achievements have been on the mountain bike where I raced cross-country (XC) for a number of years.
I have had good results in the Mud, Sweat and Gears series but my preferred race was the six hour XC endurance race. In 2018, I came 11th at the Brighton Big, which was six hours and 8,000ft of climbing.
Tell us a little more about your association with King’s Lynn Cycling Club.
I actually only joined a few years ago when my cycling was moving back towards the road. But not long after this, the club was seeking a new junior coach for Go-Ride.
I was already a British Cycling level two coach, so I put myself forward to help. When I turned up at the first session there were only four children. That was nearly two years ago and we have now changed venue and have 15 regular juniors turning up each week, with some new riders expected to join after lockdown.
What is Go-Ride?
Go-Ride is the British Cycling programme that all junior coaches follow to get youngsters into cycling – teaching them basic bike handling skills and introducing them to various forms of racing in a competitive, friendly and inclusive environment.
It is the first step on the racing ladder before the boys and girls start getting into more serious racing and regional development centres. Go-Ride covers all forms of racing from road to cyclo-cross to mountain bikes.
The KLCC Go-Ride sessions take place every Tuesday at Lynnsport athletics track from 6-7pm.
Do you think this year’s two lockdowns will boost the sport and industry in a similar way that London 2012’s cycling success did?
Now that we are moving into winter with colder darker nights, I’m not so sure. But what I can say is that e-riding has become much more of a thing than it was this time last year.
Zwift racing has given competition to more cyclists in the form of e-racing as compensation for not being able to do the real thing in 2020 due to Covid-19. Love it or hate it, it is here to stay! It’s just another form of cycling.
How are the club, and the sport, doing their bit to attract the next generation of cyclists?
As already mentioned, Go-Ride is the key entry point for the next generation to get started in competitive cycling. I take children from five to 16 at my classes, so long as they can balance on a bike and ride 10 metres.
Locally, there is a Muddy Monsters Go-Race series, which normally runs through winter, and I was also planning to start trying some Go-Race summer sessions on the track this year, but it had to be cancelled due to the lockdown. Once we get back to normal service, I will be reappraising the racing situation for junior cyclists in the area and looking to get it back moving again.
Are there any other aims on the horizon?
Once the coronavirus situation is more stable, and it is safe to do so, I aim to branch the
Go-Ride sessions out on to a more social platform as well.
This would be in the form of parents and children riding at the weekend – maybe once or twice a month – at various traffic-free locations.
I want to explore junior racing as well because this is quite starved in our area at the moment.
Once we are free to explore these things and give them a proper go I am sure it will lead on to other opportunities for cycle racing.
• For more information about junior cycling at KLCC, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The facts are…
Name: David Webster
Date of birth: October 3, 1967
Grew up in: Barrow-in-Furness
Secondary school: St Bernard’s
Sporting hero: Steve Coppell
• David is always trying new things and challenging himself. During the summer lockdown he taught himself to swim in open water at Gildenburgh, near Whittlesey, and also started climbing. He trains regularly at Fenrock Climbing Centre in Wisbech.
• Webster grew up in the Lake District – famous for its fells and mountains. Yet it wasn’t until he moved to one of the country’s flattest counties (Norfolk) that he took up mountain biking and climbing.
• He holds multiple national coaching qualifications in cycling, mountain biking and another in hockey.
• Northerner David moved to Norfolk for his first posting, which was RAF Marham. He then, 31 years ago now, met his future wife but his mother-in-law still can’t understand a word he says!
Restaurant or takeaway?
Night in or night out?
Bath or shower?
Tea or coffee?
Sweet or savoury?
Summer or winter?
Day or night?
Cinema or theatre?
Favourite food: Pizza
Least favourite TV programme: X Factor
Favourite band/musician The Smiths
Least favourite band/musician: Queen
Least favourite film: None
Answers in italics