Maindy Velodrome decision could result in a ‘lost generation of sportspeople’

Its relocation to Cardiff Bay has caused concern over access for club members

MAINDY Park Trust Advisory Committee has given its backing to a land swap between Maindy Park and Caedelyn Park in Rhiwbina.

The land swap will confirm the park and recreation status of the larger public green space as a replacement for Maindy Park which houses the velodrome set to be demolished.

The deal is part of a proposal to relocate the velodrome to the International Sports Village in Cardiff Bay and reduce overcrowding at Cathays High School.

The recommendation will be taken into account by Cardiff Council when it considers its formal decision at the next council meeting on Thursday 2 March. An application will then be put to the Charity Commission.

The council plans for Cardiff Bay include a 333m outdoor velodrome, a purpose-built performance hub, a 1km closed road circuit, an outdoor BMX track and a bike shop on site.

Cardiff Council plans for the International Sports Village with the new Velodrome included. Image: FaulknerBrowns Architects

But members of Maindy Flyers, the old velodrome’s resident cycling club are concerned about the relocation.

Geraint Thomas’s ex-coach Alan Davis said the planned closure of Maindy Velodrome could result in fewer people taking up cycling.

“We’ve already had a lost generation of sportspeople as a result of 18 months of Covid and the pandemic. How much are we going to lose from this?” he said.

“People aren’t going to bring their kids all that way to go and cycle around the track in the centre, in the Bay, with all the hassle of getting down there for what they can do riding with Whitchurch Cycling club in a local school playground.”

The ex-coach also expressed concern over the banking of the track suggesting that the proposed steeper banking would not be suitable for younger or less experienced riders.

The relocation is also a concern for current Maindy Flyers coach Emily Haycox who has been with the club since she was four.

“Relocating is going to be a massive problem, not just for the kids of North Cardiff getting there, but for the coaches,” she said.

“Having to get from one side of Cardiff to The Bay is going to be awful.”

She was more optimistic about the opportunities for cyclists at the new facilities but remained concerned about the transition period.

“It’s going to be a massive shake-up. Potentially in a few years’ time it could be good for the cyclists but getting over there and getting them used to the facilities will be tough.”

Credit: Olly Allen

These feelings were shared by parents of current cyclists with the club.

Owen Peters, who brings his son Dylan to the Thursday evening training session, lives in Canton, but works close to Maindy and said the current location was very useful.

“The main thing we like about here is the team if I’m honest, it’s got the pedigree as you can move the trainers and stuff,” he said.

Mr Peters was positive about the move and the new facilities.

“It is a bit down The Bay and it is a bit inaccessible but it’s nice that you have the swimming and everything down there.”

This was echoed by James Sullivan whose son Seth has been training with the Maindy Flyers for six weeks.

“I would begrudgingly still take Seth but it would add a good hour on to the journey. If it stayed here I would probably come Tuesdays and Thursdays but I would never do Tuesdays and Thursdays if it’s in The Bay, that’s a once-a-week journey. Maybe on a Saturday if he’s really into it,” he said.

Cardiff Council has said that moving the velodrome to Cardiff Bay would enhance the city and continue to support the development of cyclists of all ages and abilities.

“The delivery of a cluster of modern cycling facilities is considered a fantastic opportunity to support the growth of sport and physical activity and to provide residents and visitors with a fantastic place to go to enjoy themselves,” said a spokesperson.

“The purpose is to continue to support the development of the sport and provide improved opportunities for cyclists at all levels, which includes new riders, leisure groups, clubs, governing bodies and individual users.”