From children to champions, trikers to tours, gym goers and even an 82 year old local on the track for the first time, the Avantidrome’s 5th anniversary celebrations had something for all.
Last weekend marked the 5th anniversary of the official opening of the Avantidrome by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and to celebrate the Avantidrome hosted an open day with a range of complimentary activities to once again share the uniqueness of this amazing facility where high performance meets community on a daily basis.
The Avantidrome hosted free have-a-go sessions, gym tasters, tours and trike sessions for those who hadn’t yet experienced all it has to offer as well as a series of complimentary sessions for regular riders. Have-a-go participants travelled from across the Waikato including Putaruru, Matamata, Hamilton and Tamahere, not to mention a host of Cambridge locals and others making the trip from Auckland. There was a dedicated have-a-go session just for the kids after which their can do attitudes and ear to ear grins had parents booking them in to the school holiday learn to ride programme that started this week.
The have-a-go star of the day was 82 year old local woman, Arline Pile. Arline is a regular visitor to the Avantidrome but explains, “I normally ride the three wheelers in the Avantidrome Trikes sessions and have always wanted to try the two wheelers on the track. Today is the day.” And a day it was, with spritely Arline giving many of the younger participants a run for their money on the 250m wooden velodrome.
No celebration at the Avantidrome would be complete without an appearance from a few of the nation’s cycling superstars that have made the Avantidrome their base for training. Cycling New Zealand’s Eddie Dawkins, Emma Cumming, Olivia Podmore and Harry Waine, accompanied by British Cycling’s Mark Stewart, joined a lucky group of 22 avid Avantidrome riders in an exclusive opportunity to ride with the champs. Willing to give of their time and share their stories and expertise Dawkins, Cumming, Podmore, Waine and Stewart took to the track with a group of excited young kids and excitable grown-ups for an hour and half of skill sessions and racing. The session was topped off with a series of signings on commemorative pieces of Siberian Spruce (the wood the track is built from) and bike frames and helmets.
Home of Cycling’s General Manager, Scott Gemmill says of the day, “5 years is a significant milestone for the Home of Cycling (HoC) that’s worth celebrating. We wanted to do something to say thanks to our loyal riders and the wider community for their support. The numbers were strong and the wow factor was high. Floating around the Avantidrome and speaking with first time visitors and long time HoC extended family was a special experience. The Ride with a Champ was a blast. The kids loved it, but it was the parents who could not stop giggling. A huge thanks must go to our small team of dedicated staff, who once again went above and beyond during the weekend, away from their own families to put on this fabulous event for the community to experience how lucky we are to have this amazing facility in Cambridge. We’re excited to be working on what the next 5 years will bring”.
See the photos here.