People adopt Avantidrome as their home for cycling

JEREMY SMITH
Last updated 05:00 18/06/2014

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Community use at Cambridge's $28.5 million Avantidrome appears to be on the upward track, according to figures released last week.

The Avantidrome's first quarterly figures, provided by the Home of Cycling Trust, state that community use grew from 137 hours in March to 165 hours in April, and to 307 hours in May.

The facility opened in March. Figures showed that since then there have been 6000 community rides at the Avantidrome, representing 80 per cent of its total usage.

School cycling has also been on the increase, with 20 hours of school cycling each week, including a Home of Cycling academy programme catering for more advanced school riders.

Speaking from overseas, Home of Cycling chief executive Geoff Balme described the trend as a great start.

"We're very happy. But there's a long way to go, and I guess until we get to the end of the first year we won't know really how things unfold.

"The proof is in the pudding as they say. But I don't think we could have asked for a better start."

Balme said those using the track ranged in age from 10 to 92, and have come from schools, clubs, corporate groups and from the general public. Birthday parties have also been held at the facility.

As well as from the Cambridge community cyclists have been coming from around the Waikato region, including Hamilton, Te Awamutu, Morrinsville and Matamata, and from areas further afield, including Rotorua, Tauranga and Auckland.

Balme said an "unexpected surprise" has been the formation of newly-accredited track cyclists into regular riding groups.

He described indications from the Avantidrome's first three months of operation as encouraging. "It's rewarding to know that all the effort we put into developing a wide range of community programmes has been worthwhile".

The initial idea for the complex, based at St Peter's School, was first discussed in 2010. Now fully operational, it is one of just two indoor velodromes in the country. The other is in Invercargill in the South Island.

The track was started about Labour Weekend last year and finished in December.

The facility was in use by March with a later official opening in April by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It's first event was the the Elite and U19 Track National Championships.

The public has been using the Avantidrome since its doors were opened and anyone aged 10 and over can ride the track with the assistance of an instructor.

For $15 an hour an riders can use one of 100 Avanti bikes for a session on the track. 

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- Waikato Times

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