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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Where should New Zealand's 2nd indoor cycling velodrome be located?

"Palmerston North has lodged a proposal with BikeNZ and Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC) to build NewZealands second international indoor cycling velodrome.
Palmerston North City Council, Bike Manawatu, Sport Manawatu, and Massey University with the support of Manawatu District Council have lodged a proposal with BikeNZ and Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC) to build New Zealand's second international indoor cycling velodrome.
Manawatu and Palmerston North are the perfect locations for this being central and easily accessible. Easy to get to by road we are a three hour drive gets you to a million people, regular air services, easy accommodation access to the track.


Jonah Lomu (Tongan) bulldozing his way
through some big South Africans
Several years ago I recommended to the then head of NZ high performance cycle coaching that we should place our next cycle velodrome in the Auckland suburb of Otara (Otara is the largest concentration of Polynesians in the world).  He scoffed at the idea because, in his opinion Pacific Islanders were not suited to individual sports.  Talk about ignorant - it was a direct insult to my family as well as to all the Maori and Pacific Islanders who have excelled at sports like tennis, squash, golf, boxing, multisports and - yes - cycling.

If only we could put these legs to work on a track bike!
More than any other race on the planet, Polynesians are gifted with natural muscle development.  This is perfect for track racing where a good big cyclist will always beat a good small one when it comes down to a neck and neck finish over the last lap or two.  Track cycling is all about POWER.  The track bike is perfect for those diesel engine Polynesian legs: All we have to do is shove some huge gears onto a specially strengthened bike and those powerhouse  legs will produce the goods!

Our Secret Weapon revealed: PolyPower!

Alama Moller at full speed- who says
Polynesians are not good on bikes?
 So, you might wonder, where are all the Polynesian cyclists?  Well, there are not that many, mostly due to lack of opportunity and sticking a new velodrome in some paddock on the outskirts of Palmerston North is not going to increase their participation!

If you want to produce great athletes, regardless of race, they need to be participating in the sport from an early age.  Cycling is an expensive Yuppie sport, that is out of the reach of many low income families which includes many, if not most of our Pacific communities.

Yes, Polynesians can
ride bikes very well
This is compounded by Maori and Pacific Islanders  being trapped in a sporting stereotype that has them considered to be only good for sports like league, rugby and netball.  There simply has not been the opportunity for participation of young Polynesians in cycling.  But the truth is this: Polynesians can crank a bike along as good as anybody, if not better.

The solution I propose is to place a cycling velodrome in the heart of NZ Polynesia - South Auckland.  Enlist the support of the local Pacific Islands community leaders and make the velodrome a social centre for the local youngsters.  As with all velodromes, there will be an ample supply of club bikes along with a full programme of lessons, training and events for youth and adults.

An indoor velodrome has the added benefit as being the perfect way to introduce a safe and effective form of exercise (indoor cycling) to improve health for those with diabetes, weight, joint and cardiovascular problems.

If a velodrome was to be built in Auckland, it has more chance of ending up in Remuera or the North Shore than Otahuhu or Otara.  That would be as tragic as placing it in the wops of Palmerston North.  With election campaigning now underway for the new Auckland Super City, I hope that some of the candidates latch onto this proposal and run with it.

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Wayne said...

I think for now , they should be encouraged into sports that dont require expensive gear like track cycling, the no's who can afford the bikes in south auckland isnt great, not helped in a lot of cases by parents squandering what little disposable income they have on undesireable purchases like alcohol and cigarettes, junk food, or drugs.
sure cyclieng is just as much for the working classes, for those who have put the money aside to afford the gear to be competitive.

Wayne said...

one of the most talented distance runners I ever saw as a teenager was Polynesian,
33 minutes for the ten k in his early teens. never continued the sport, he was olympic material.

Wayne said...

to be successful in a sport . a person needs to be extremely passionate about that sport.
polynesians arent anywhere near as passionate about cycling in anywhere near the percentage of the caucasian population. ability has nothing to do with anything, its the desire . and palmerston north has enough people with the desire to make the dream happen, people need to work hard for their goals or they dont appreciate them. you give south auckland the national velodrome and it wont be embraced by the polynesians . they're not interested in working to get the centre.