The Wallace warriors are the junior section of Stirling Bike Club which focus on developing bike handling skills and coaching. Many of the older youths have decided to specialise on road or MTB riding and there is a group of a dozen older riders concentrating on developing their MTB skills with the clubs main MTB coach Steve Field. Stirling Bike is a ClubSport Stirling Charter club is which the highest tier of Club Accreditation that can be achieved locally.
The Wallace Warriors came into existence in 2007 following recognition that there was a shortfall in the provision of cycle coaching to children in and around the Stirling Area. At that time, Stirling Bike Club was an established adult club but with no junior section. Initially, Scottish Cycling together with Active Stirling supported Stirling Bike Club to run a set of sessions for under 16s on a Thursday night at Beechwood Park in Stirling and it quickly became apparent that the demand was there to create a formal club. The Wallace Warriors grew from this.Back
The Wallace Warriors became an accredited go-ride club in 2008 following the mechanisms established by Scottish Cycling. The first club coach gained his qualifications in 2008 and by the ned of that year the club had 4 qualified level 2 coaches and were had become a sustainable section with the support from the Scottish Cycling Development Officer coming in way of development work and no longer providing coaching cover. Close liaison was maintained with Active Stirling and the club gained Club Sport Stirling accreditation.
Parents and Stirling Bike Club members were recruited to assist on the committee with several of them going on to gain their own coaching qualifications. Stirling Council has also supported the club by providing permission to use the land at Beechwood park. The club have created links with Stirling University and have recruited coaches through this relationship.
These partnerships have only strengthened through time as the Wallace Warriors are a key partner and one of the main representatives in the Stirling Mountain Biking Forum. This forum is coordinated by Active Stirling and involves Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland, Scottish Cycling, Forestry Commission, Loch Lomond National Parks, Callander Trails Project and Bike Trossachs.
Stirling Bike Club are represented at the Scottish Cycling East and Central Regional working group which will become a committee who will work to develop cycling within these areas.
Initial promotion was mainly via Scottish Cycling and Active Stirling, linking into their Active Schools project. However, promotion quickly became self-sustaining, mainly through word-of-mouth, as the competitive success of riders (both locally and nationally) started to generate publicity. The club quickly hit a capacity problem with restrictions on the volunteer coaching input and limitations on local facilities and have been managing an extensive waiting list for the past 3 years.
Today much interest/ promotion in the Wallace Warriors still comes from word of mouth however official promotion of the club is done through many networks. These include the club website, Facebook and twitter. In addition to local news stories and ClubSport Stirling website.Back
The Wallace Warriors now has 92 members and a closed waiting list of 40. We have 11 active level 2 qualified coaches and a further 3 who are part way through level 2 qualification. We have 5 coaches who have progressed beyond level 2 and 2 of which have their level 3 qualification. Some of our members are competing at the highest standard in their age band / disciplines, whilst others are content to improve their skills through regular attendance at our Thursday night sessions.
We have created a level structure (from basic – level 1, to advanced – level 6) and run 6 sessions concurrently on a Thursday night. We run non-discipline specific coaching sessions for the levels 1-4 groups at Beechwood Park, road progression sessions for the more advanced riders at two separate locations, and mountain biking progression sessions at local mountain biking venues. Our riders compete in events across the UK and across track, road and mountain biking disciplines.
We have also held a number of club away days and support a large number of riders who are progressing up through the performance pathways of Scottish Cycling and British Cycling. We have secured significant funding towards the development of our coaches and towards the provision of equipment necessary to support our coaching delivery such as race equipment, cones, lights (both static and bike mounted). We have run a number of events as the Wallace Warriors (3 years of mini downhill, Plean cyclocross, Tulliallan road crits) and supported the senior club events (Crit on the campus, Crit under the castle). Our coaches have supported British Cycling’s inter-regional competitions for road, track and mountain bike.
What one feature of your project would you highlight as a particular success or unique aspect?
Supplying 4 out of 20 riders / reserves for the MTB inter-regionals in addition to having 1 coach and 2 riders in the team that finished second overall in that competition.
Organising the highest attended round of the Scottish Power Mini Downhill series which was such a success we have been asked to be part of the series next year.Back
Coaching: we are in the process of creating an Emerging Riders Performance Squad to support our top end riders’ progression towards their individual goals. We are also engaged with Scottish Cycling in their performance pathway through the provision of club clusters of training.
We also continue to train new coaches and provide opportunities for our existing coaches to extend their qualifications and experience.
Facilities: we are engaged with Active Stirling and other local groups including the Callander Mountain Bike Trails project to progress the provision of cycling facilities in the area.
Members: We are creating sustainable pathways into the senior club for our older and more advanced riders to retain their interest as they develop. In addition we were involved in the consultation for Active Stirling MTB pathway which is looking at getting more children involved in cycling.Back
The Wallace Warriors are seen as a real model of good practice for club development within Stirling and is used as such within the Club Development/Active Schools teams in Active Stirling and ClubSport Stirling due to its success in terms of a vast numbers for relatively young club but the fact it sits within the overarching Stirling Bike Club which is the biggest club for cycling in the local area. Stirling Bike Club having multiple disciplines and over 200 members makes it one of the biggest clubs in the Stirling Area.
The Wallace Warriors are a real driver for the development of Mountain Biking locally and have been one of the reasons to why in 2013 Active Stirling appointed a Club Development Officer with the sport tag of Mountain Biking to assist in the development of the sport locally.Back