Bike Manawatu's coaching ranks have had a big boost with the arrival of Emma Crum.
Crum has been competing in Europe for the past five years, but has given away serious racing and is now studying at Massey University and is a Bike Manawatu member.
Along with doing her honours degree in sport and exercise, she will be doing coaching work with Bike Manawatu.
It was tough for Crum to make a living in Europe, because women's cycling isn't as glamorous as men's.
It was a hard decision to give up racing, but before she went away for her last year overseas she was mulling over not going and once she had gone, realised it was the wrong decision.
"The last few years I've been in a team that hasn't spoken English," she said. "Last year I was living in this little town in Spain with two Russian girls that didn't speak English at all."
The 25-year-old's addition to Bike Manawatu will be valuable after her five years of racing experience in Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.
In Spain she rode for the Lointek team, based in the hilly Basque country, which was good for Crum who is a hill climber.
In France she was based in Dijon with the ASPTT Dijon team and in the Netherlands she rode for the Specialized-DPD team, based in the east near the German border.
While living in Europe, she rode with two New Zealanders who, coincidentally, were both from Manawatu.
In France she rode with Genevieve Whitson (Palmerston North), who now lives in Scotland, and Jessica Jolly (Feilding) in Holland who now lives in Wellington.
Originally from Auckland, Crum raced at the world road championships in 2010 and 2012 in Melbourne and the Netherlands respectively.
She didn't finish either, as she was working for someone else on the team, but said they were a good experience.
Crum's biggest win came when she won the 110km valley road stage of the women's tour of New Zealand in Palmerston North in 2012 which came after she had been vomiting the night before. "It just went from being such a bad race and being sick, to being the best race ever."
She finished 10th overall in that tour when she was riding for the Cyclosport NZ team along with Manawatu woman Rachel Southee.
Last year Crum won a one-day race in the Spain Cup series in Sopelana.
But now she isn't racing seriously and the development of young riders is her focus.
Crum's sponsor Liv/giant is trying to promote women's cycling in New Zealand by holding events and bunch rides for women and Crum is starting one in Palmerston North.
Crum is the first recipient of a new scholarship created from Bike Manawatu funds given to Massey University to assist a competitive cyclist to study.
- Manawatu Standard
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