It's time to pedal the word and get things moving !
The National Water Sports Centre is one of Nottingham's premier water sport venue's and has the potential to add another exciting and popular sporting activity to the long list of leisure activities that already take place down by the River Trent in Nottinghamshire.
Cycling is one of Britain's most popular participant sports and is growing year on year, one very popular discipline is dirt jumping on purpose a built mountain bikes (24" or 26" wheel) or BMX bikes (20" wheel) on soil sculptured mounds or flowing pump tracks or BMX tracks. It is great for learning bike skills and advanced control and keeping fit in general whilst having loads of fun, these lifestyle sports are popular activities and it is time more area's are developed to encourage the young and the old to participate. Not everyone is into football and Rugby, like the bulk of the media portray.
A questionnaire was carried out by Nottinghamshire County Council on the Natioanl Water Sports Centre to see what the current and potential user wanted to see down at the centre. Extreme sports came top of the list and it was reported in the media:
(2008) NCC's Chris Barron, said: "We consulted with people a couple of years ago. It was clear that extreme sport that was available to all was a priority and the idea of a marina was very popular.
"In order for the figures to stack up, we need to promote the wider use of the centre. It's important that elite sports people have a place to train, but we need to strike a balance and attract a broader range of people to make use of the site."
You maybe able to find results of the questionnaire before it is archived. There was talk of a skatepark being built within the new scheme at one stage and the BBC interviewed local pro skaterboarder Alex Halford on the idea and discussed the lack of skateparks in Nottingham, in which he backed any new skatepark in Nottinghamshire. There's definitely the room down there for a skatepark and it is easy biking distance from Radcliffe-on-Trent skatepark or Ladybay skatepark. It's just how much people want to push the idea and get involved !
However, the original ambitous plans were dropped due to the financial troubles in the world's economy and a multi million pound investment would have been a possible diaster. For some reason an inexpensive (virtally free) small cycling area or pump track was over looked, but if a low key bike scheme had been introduced some four years ago, a cycling centre could have been well established by now.
Now the National Water Sports Centre is up for tender and looking for a parnter to deliver the Centre's services, maybe this new company could follow the lead set by Cyclopark in Kent, they also have a concrete skatepark.
Holme Pierrepont Country park (NWSC) has area's of unused ground, imparticular the old Buggyland site (as above) which has now slowly been cleaned up and hopefully can now be used to benefit Nottinghamshire in the future.
Another massive benefit is that this area is located right between Lady Bay Skatepark and Radcliffe-on-Trent Skatepark (which has just been refurbished and has a bowled corner) and can be accessed by the River Trent cycle path from Ladybay and along Holme Lane from Radcliffe-on-Trent. Nice, safe and quite routes for cycling to all three biking area's, what more could you ask for (except a concrete skatepark).
There are plans to build a pump track for now for MTB and Bmxers, to see how much interest it generates and what problems it brings to the area. This is a slow process and is being created by voulunteers and the Nottingham Clarion Cycling Club, when the free soil and help is available. There is no funding available at present (that's it you cry, dead in the water) but if there is a genuine need for it, then who knows there could be some funding available through British Cycling or Lottery money.
There is already a well established cycling club (Clarion) with Go-Ride events based at the NWSC and this possible area would enhance the visit and the facility.
This scheme would cost very little in comparison to the possible revenue and publicity it would generate within the East Midlands and the whole County. It would be a great example of the Council and Community working as a partnership to produce an inexpensive, well needed and used sporting facility. NWSC would then move closer to being a Multi-Use leisure park.
Before the pump track is finished there are obvious issues that need to be resolved before it can be opened, public liablilty, form or join a bike club to form a group of enthusiastic bike jump builders.
We have for some years, thought this area would be ideal for a bespoke MTB / bmx area (maybe like cyclopark) including an international standard BMX track. The area can be built for both disciplines of bikes and would soon generate a healthly following who would hopefully take some pride in the area and volunteer to maintain the jumps. This type of setup is becoming popular around the country and it's about time Nottingham jumps on board before it is left behind. It's not like we are talking thousands of pounds to get it started on a small scale.
All the infrustucture is there to create a Cycling Centre to cover the majority of biking forms from Road cycling to Mountain Biking to BMXing. All of which are now in the Olympic games, so it's an ideal time to jump on back of the media coverage and make this Country Park not just famous for it's water sports but cycling activities too.
There could be enough room down there to build MTB trails, a pump track and even a international BMX track setup like Birmingham BMX Club that is sponsored by Birmingham City Coucil. There is already a popular purpose built campsite, onsite hotel accommodation and catering facilities which could all benefit from having better cycling facilities. Accompanying that, the National water sports centre is situated on cycle routes (and Natioanl cycle route 15) close to Nottingham city centre, this could be a win win situation for Nottinghamshire and all the cycling community.
If you are interested in helping out or joining a cycling club to be more involved, then please email email@example.com and express an interest or a offer of help. We will then past it on.
Also feel free to check out or visit the National Water Sports Centre.
Over to you.