Unsung hero: Lifelong cyclist helping the next generation of Kingstonians onto two wheels
Setting up a club encouraging youngsters to experience the joys of cycling was a no brainer for one keen cyclist – after all, he does have a life-long passion for the sport.
Ant Frend, 56, from Epsom, has spent the past five years cycling to Kingston nearly every weekday to fulfil his role as a borough cycle instructor.
But a year-and-a-half ago he decided this was not enough and so set about helping establish a weekend cycle club.
Mr Frend said: “I had been coming across a lot of kids and parents saying it would be great if there was a cycling club as there wasn’t one.”
The chairman and lead coach at Kingston Junior Cycle Club, Mr Frend, has been running weekly Saturday morning meet-ups at the Hawker Centre where youngsters can practice racing, competing and general riding since February 2011.
The father-of-two said: “It is such a buzz for them, riding around having fun, it is what it is all about.
“There is a nice bunch of kids and a nice kind of social camaraderie with all of them getting together.”
Currently, Kingston Junior Cycle Club has attracted a member base of about 40 children, all keen to learn more. Its modest leader said he had no idea people thought of him as an unsung hero and insisted the accolade is something his whole team including Melissa Gregory and Liz Foster should share.
With the help of Kingston Council and the British Cycling Association, with whom the club is affiliated, the club is able to offer two sessions each Saturday – one for nine to 16-year-olds and a Spokes Club for six to eight year-olds.
And, despite their young ages, Mr Frend thinks he could have a future sporting champion or two on his hands.
He said: “There are some really talented kids at the club and they love competing and racing. There are definitely some potential Olympians and Tour de France winners here.
“There is some great promise and it would be fantastic looking forward to see them develop.”
For details about the club visit kingstonjuniorcycle club.co.uk.
l To nominate an unsung hero call 020 8744 4244 or email newsdesk@surrey comet.co.uk.