WAGGA Cycling Club spokesperson Cameron Oke says more focus on grassroots and the city's looming new cycling complex are desperately needed to arrest the sport's "nose dive" after this weekend's Golden Wheel event narrowly avoided being cancelled.
After attracting up to 250 riders in previous editions, nominations fell from 120 last year to around 85 for Saturday and Sunday's event at the Wagga Cricket Ground Cycling Track.
The club will accept late entries on the day but Oke said it's vital they do everything possible to ensure the event doesn't meet the same fate as the Gwen French Memorial junior event and Sid Demmery Memorial road race, after both became defunct after 2016.
"I think we were a bit worried about next year's event last year," Oke said.
"We need to make this the best carnival we can and we've got some incredible sponsors we don't want to let down.
"Unfortunately cycling in general has been taking a bit of a nosedive in the last five or six year.
"It seems cycling has got a very national focus, not a grassroots focus which is very sad."
Oke said last weekend's National Junior Track Series in Brisbane and next week's Clarence Street Cup in Sydney hasn't helped the cause, with many parent's purse strings already stretched to the limit.
"Last year we had about 120 cyclists (for Golden Wheel) and even that was pretty small," he said.
"We have given it the go ahead and will try and get some late entries to race in it.
"There's $7000 in prizemoney and that works out to nearly $100 per person, so there's some good value there."
The club's facility's are massively outdated and they are keenly awaiting the completion of a $9.2 million complex at Pomingalarna Reserve which will feature a velodrome with lights, a criterium track and also be home to BMX and mountain bike racing.
Wagga City Council's web site indicates construction and implementation is set down from this month until June, 2021.
"We're still running on the cycling track where we've run for over 80 years and the introduction of the new one at Pomingalarna will be of great assistance, being able to hold races and entice more kids in Wagga to take up cycling," Oke said.
"Tamworth and Bathurst have done it, Dubbo are in the process and you can see a real large injection of riders coming into the sport because of it."
The Penny Farthing State Championships will also be held at the Golden Wheel.