A HUGE influx in junior cycling participation rates means clubs could face a shortage of bikes for youngsters to compete on as summer community sports prepare to come out of hiatus.
Wagga Cycling Club's most recent 'come and try' day attracted about 40 new riders after 50 initially expressed interest. But the next come and try sessions scheduled for October 25 and 27 have seen about 110 nominate.
While the surge in popularity is welcome, and could possibly be attributed to the sport's convenience and ability to be enjoyed individually during COVID, Wagga Cycling Club coach Cameron Oke said more bikes are needed.
The club has set up a GoFundMe page hoping to raise $10,000 to purchase more bikes. They also anticipate the Multisport Cycling Complex at Pomingalarna which will be completed in the near future could create another influx of participants.
"Like all sports you can struggle to retain people after come and try days, but we've been successful with retaining a lot of our kids," Oke said.
"We retained about 80 per cent last time and if we even retain 20 per cent of the 110 kids interested, then we don't have enough bikes.
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"The biggest part is it's an expensive sport. If you want to go play footy you buy a pair of footy boots and parents don't blink an eye, because they know they'll run around in them or there's another sport to use them.
"With bikes the cheapest one is probably $500 and in the current climate that's a lot of money for some parents.
"Cycling's been an underrated sport for many years. Only now I think parents are realising it's a great way to get kids off electronic devices, get to meet other kids and it's not necessarily only first place who gets a prize."
Oke said they need to be as ready as possible if the city's improved cycling facilities attract even more riders.
"It's a case of if they build it we will come, but we also need to be prepared for it," he said.
"We're unsure when we do open Pomingalarna if there will e masses of kids going to try the sport. We'll have the infrastructure, we just need the bikes for the kids."
Wagga Cycling Club was due to host the national junior road championships last year, which were cancelled due to COVID.
This year's edition has been allocated to Port Macquarie, which will be held at the end of this month.
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