Friday, January 4, 2019
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
With the removal of their one-mile cycling track to accommodate the construction of the new national baseball stadium, the Bahamas Cycling Federation has been left without a facility to train and compete.
Bahamas Cycling Federation’s secretary general Barron ‘Turbo’ Musgrove said they are hoping that the Bahamas Government will relocate their facilities so that they can have an alternative venue to compete on when they are engaged in road competition.
“We’ve been in many discussions with the previous government and even now with the new government about properties in the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre,” Musgrove said.
“We’ve spoken to the National Sports Authority about several sites in addition to that, we’ve said to them, why not let us start off with a dirt track. It’s a small area, it doesn’t cost much, we can put in the fill and cause the youngsters to do mountain biking just to get started.”
While they have engaged in talks with the relevant parties, Musgrove said the federation has not spoken to the media about it because they are still looking at several sites to be relocated. “From both governments and have been assured that they are doing their assessments on the space they have in the Sports Centre and what area would be best suited for us,” Musgrove revealed.
“They took our side for baseball because they deemed it necessary because it was the proper site for the new stadium. The site that they had for baseball that lays to the west of Government High is now being considered as a site for us to have new facility.”
As they go through the process of meeting with government, Musgrove said they are still trying to find an alternative site where they can develop their cyclists.
“We have told them that if we can just get an area where the kids can ride their mountain bikes, we can fund the dirt. Just give us the area and fence it off,” he said.
Musgrove said during his recent visit to Switzerland where he met with the Union Cycliste International (UCI), president Roy Colebrook got the assurance they will be willing to come to the Bahamas and assist in the creation of a velodrome for cycling.
“Whether it is inside or outside, we hope that we can get a velodrome so that the Bahamas can be one of the sites for training and the development of cycling,” Musgrove said.
“We’ve made that proposal to them and they are meeting sometime next month in Geneva to discuss that among other things,” he said.
In the meantime, Musgrove said they are using the parking lot at the new Thomas A Robinson National Stadium as a venue for some of their off-the-road cycling events on Saturdays and Sundays.
“We will continue even though we don’t have that so called facility,” he said. “We have some cycling in the Spanish Wells community and Grand Bahama and so we want to push more of that type of cycling to get more people involved.”
John Cox, the president of Enjoy! Cycling Club, said having raced on the former one-mile cycling track, he hopes that the Bahamas Government will relocate their new facility to a site that can be conducive for a velodrome.
“I think that the Government or the powers that be should definitely try to create that atmosphere for us,” he stated. “Track bikes are not that expensive. They are the least expensive bikes out there and that will give us a new appreciation for cycling in the country.
“We always miss the good things we have going on internally, so I would love to see us get a new facility so that cyclists like Felix Neely can get a chance to really develop his skills. He could be a great ambassador. He could be the poster child for cycling in the country.”
And Maria Campbell, who is also a member of the Enjoy! Cycling Club, said her company, Cycles Unlimited, will be willing and ready to assist in whatever way they can to provide an environment for the cycling community to continue to grow.
“I would love to see a velodrome, I would love to see somewhere that is very accessible to people of all walks of life,” she summed up. “If it is too far, people probably won’t come, so I would like to see a velodrome that is accessible to all cyclists.
“Although we have monthly races, we have a lot of recreational cyclists who just want to go out there and have some fun. So we cater to people who either want to train for competition or just want to run for fun.”
At present, there are more than 50-plus competitors who are actively involved in the Enjoy! Cycling Club. There is almost the same number actively involved in the federation as competitive cyclists. With a new facility, the cycling community feels that they can attract a lot more competitors in the future.