Originally formed in 1976 Velo Club Norwich is one of the largest cycling clubs in East Anglia offering a full schedule of events, club rides and training opportunities. In its early years the club had an unashamed racing focus and Tom Smith, the club’s founder, lead a team of top local names to regional and national success.
Re-invented in the late 80’s as a cycling club rather than a race team Tom Smith, Ted Hendersen and Rob Smith (who still serves as VCN’s general secretary) set out to create a club that appealed to a broader audience and promoted all aspects of cycling. In those days the club numbered less than 30 members but by the early 90’s with a thriving mountain bike section, club riders, road racers and time trialists the membership had swelled to close to 100.
By the beginning of this century VCN had established itself as a key feature on the Eastern club landscape. With a focus on road riding in its many guises we have gained a good track record of developing riders and supporting them in the various leagues and races around the region as well as offering a wide variety of training and club rides throughout the week.
The club also has an active (and growing) female membership and is proud to claim Emma Pooley as one of the club’s alumni.
Like many clubs across the country VCN finds itself serving a rejuvenated interest in cycling generally. In the Norfolk area, blessed as we are with some of the best conditions for cycling anywhere in the country, the active club scene represents more than 1000 cyclists. VCN’s membership at over 160 stands at its highest ever and together with the other local clubs our riders can choose from an impressive array of events through the year; from the annual two day Tour of Norfolk to the weekly clubruns; from our open events to the year long ERRL road race series.
Join us and ride in the company of like minded enthusiasts!
Dawn Riley – Chair
I first took up road cycling when I was 11 years and living in Huddersfield . My parents sold their car and bought us all bikes. There was no going back! I rode until my mid 30’s when I gave the sport up for several years. The visit of the Tour De France to Yorkshire in 2014 re ignited my love of the sport and emptied by bank account. Not wanting to ride solo I joined VCN in March 2015 and have been an active member since. I’ve enjoyed making new friends, the social events, even the two TT rides! In 2016 I was lucky enough to join a group of fellow club members and travel to the French Alps where I achieved a long-held ambition of climbing an Alp. Returning 2 years later to do it all again. I am the Club Treasurer and will hold the Office of Chair until February 2022.
Clive Rayner – Clothing Secretary
My first ride with VCN was on Sunday 4th November 2001, a club ride to Bungay. Having enjoyed the ride I joined the club shortly after that and soon became used to cycling in a group. I have also made some very good friends through the club and enjoyed the social side of cycling including many cycling holidays in Europe. Feeling I wanted to give something back to the club, I joined the committee and in 2009 when the post of clothing secretary became available I put myself forward for it. I enjoy the position, it keeps me in contact with the current members and a chance to welcome new members to the club when they place their first kit order.
Robert ‘Rob’ Smith – General Secretary
I’m a trained Orthopaedic/ trauma nurse and chose to combine my career with my lifelong love of cycling when I began working on the medical team for the Milk Race in 1976. I worked in the event for 18 years .
I’ve also worked in the Medical Team for a variety of other prestigious cycling events including , National Championships, World cups, World Road, World Track and cyclo Cross championships. In 2002 I achieved a career long dream of working at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester as the Velodrome Medical Manager. I then eclipsed this achievement by working as the Medical Manager at the Velodrome and BMX track at the London Olympics and Paralympics in 2012.I have been a keen cyclist all my life and I’m a founder member of VC Norwich in 1983. Since retiring om working on races I have been involved with supporting training camps in Mallorca.
Adam Simmonds – Welfare Officer
I’m Adam and I love cycling, coffee and cake. I’ve been a member of VC Norwich since 2014 and joined the committee to give a little time back to the club which has supported me. You can usually find me suffering at local time trials or riding in circles at the London Velodrome (when the roof isn’t leaking). Owing to a small family I don’t get to ride every week but I’ll always make an effort for the famous VC Norwich Christmas ride!
A committee member for many years and chairman for a while I’ve been club cycling for more than 40 years, starting it as a way to beat asthma as a teenager. Never competitive (known as the mobile chicane in circuit races and just about scraping a long 23 for a “10”) I just love the camaraderie of the club scene. My biggest frustration is that my work keeps me away from Norfolk too much these days so I don’t get a chance to ride with the club as often as I’d like. I’m easy to recognise, at 6’4” I always look like I’m struggling because there aren’t many clubmates big enough for me to draft behind….
Stewart Lyons – Trophies and awards secretary
I first started cycling properly after leaving school at 19 when I joined the East Anglian CC via a friend. I’d always loved riding my bike since I first learnt to balance on two wheels, so joining a club was a natural and exciting progression. Initially I just enjoyed club riding, learning group riding and rider etiquette but inevitably developed a desire to try racing. First steps were evening club 10’s then Open TT’s, but eventually I had to try Road Racing. My first road race, in March 1987, was the Tour of Bumpstead’s. It turned out to be a Pro/ 1/2/3 race, so yep, I was seriously out of my depth for a first ever race and needless to say was well and truly last, so far behind they probably thought about sending out a search party! But far from being demoralised, I loved it. By the end of that year I’d improved no end, raced plenty of different event and progressed to 2nd cat with my best result that year being 2nd place at Ely Race. I’d also still race Open TT’s and some weekends would do both (obviously on different days!) I’d got the bug.
I joined VC Norwich in 1991 as they were putting together a race team. I continued Road Racing ’till 1997 (though I carried on TT’ing for several years thereafter) with some of my notable highlights being twice the winner of the Bishops Stortford Road Race on the tough Barkway circuit (consecutive years 1993 & ’94) , 2nd overall on the Basildon Roads 2-day race (also ’94) and achieving 1st Cat status too in 1994. I also regularly raced the East Anglian Divisional Championships with my best result being 2nd; but also had a 4th, 6th and an 8th place in other years. Some years I went with a group and raced kermesse races in Flandrian Belgium for a week thanks to Barry Smith taking us, racing upto 4 events in the week. Best result was an 11th place though I was sprinting for 7th at the time! Apart from racing I also enjoyed Touring adventures on the bike exploring countries including Southern Ireland, Sweden, France, a trip from Belgium right down to Rome and the UK too.
Since I stopped racing I still enjoy riding and with friends from the club have ridden most of the famous Tour de France climbs and a couple of Italian ones too.
My favourite Pro race to watch would be the Tour of Flanders.
Favourite racer is Eddy Merckx (I’m a bit nostalgic) but more recently would be Tom Boonen.
Lorraine Jarvis – Membership Secretary
In 2014 I completed my first 10 mile bike ride. I remember joining VCN a year later liking their different ability club rides and ethos.
We road up Mousehold hill on a no drop club ride, ended up walking up most of the hill due to the dreaded ‘P” and not knowing how to fix it. My club mates thought I was just slow we had a group puncture repair session at the very top, thanks guys.
I was invited onto the committee as the membership secretary. Get in touch if you would like to contribute.
I now ride up mountains and mend punctures daily as a bike mechanic for a local bike shop. How things change
Velo Club Norwich and it’s members are affiliated to the following organisations: