Community Hero: Doncaster cycling supremo gearing up for another great year of racing
There is nobody more pleased to see the recent resurgence in the popularity of cycling than Martin Maltby.
The hugely successful Yorkshire leg of the Tour de France in 2014 - which boosted the county’s economy by an estimated £150m - has sparked a renewed interest in cycling in the region.
And with the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race rolling into Doncaster on April 30 that popularity is set to soar even further.
Martin is Doncaster’s ‘Mr Cycling’.
The 47-year-old Edenthorpe man is president of Doncaster Wheelers Cycling Club, race director of the Doncaster Cycle Festival and Danum Trophy Road Race, owner of the Don Valley Cycles shop, a member of the Tour De Yorkshire Doncaster stage organising committee and a British Cycling coach.
He took a moment to get out of the saddle and explain his work to promote his favourite sport in the community.
How did you become interested in cycling?
I stared competitive cycling in 1982 and as a 17-year-old I was picked to represent Great Britain in the Junior World Road Race Championships in Morocco. After a few successful seasons in the UK, I spent two racing seasons living and racing in Belgium. Don Valley Cycles first opened its doors in 1993.
What inspired you to get involved in the community work that you do?
My passion has always been cycle racing from an early date, I was fortunate to have lots of help and encouragement from many older cycle club members in my early days, and I find it very rewarding giving something back to younger riders now via the Doncaster Wheelers Go Ride coaching sessions we promote.
Describe a typical day in the role?
For me it depends on the day. Some days are heavily focused on race organisation while others I work with the Doncaster Wheelers Go-Ride coaches to develop future generations of cyclists.
All while managing the day-to-day running of Don Valley Cycles.
Each coaching session concentrates on a different aspect of cycling, for example:- cornering, safely riding in a group, changing gear, road safety, etc.
Each session involves a cycle, helmet and clothing check with the riders and their bikes then teaching them a new skill.
What have been your highlights over the years and what have you found most rewarding?
There are numerous I could mention recently.
The success of the Doncaster Cycle Festival for which I am the race director.
The festival launched in 2014 and returned last year. We have hundreds of cyclists on the day racing around a closed 1km circuit in Doncaster town centre and the event attracts thousands of spectators.
It will return this year on Sunday, June 19, and is an ideal opportunity to put Doncaster firmly on the cycling map.
In addition, other major highlights this year include the Tour de Yorkshire cycle stage race having a finish in Doncaster, and seeing younger riders working their way up through the coaching sessions and being picked to join the Regional School of Racing.
What keeps you going during a hard week?
I enjoy my work and my sport so I don’t need any motivation to get through a week.
What else do you hope to achieve as part of the role?
From the cycle clubs point of view I would like to eventually see a purpose built circuit in our borough for the junior riders to train and race on.
For the Tour of Yorkshire, I’d like it to be seen as one of the best sporting events that has come to Doncaster while showcasing all the fantastic countryside we have around us.
What would you say to somebody considering community work - why is it worth doing?
A little bit of time and effort putting something back into the community is all that’s needed to improve all our lives.
Whether it’s through sport or any other activity, it builds confidence in our communities and improves the lives for many people.
For more information about the Doncaster Cycle Festival visit www.doncastercyclefest.com