The BMX club in Brixton where Olympic silver medallist Kye Whyte first started riding has seen a spike in interest following Team GB’s success in Tokyo.
Brixton BMX Club, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this month, is attracting greater numbers of riders to Brockwell Park in Brixton, inspired by the success of stars like Whyte and fellow Olympian Beth Shriever, who won BMX gold.
Olympic silver medalist Whyte started riding at Brixton BMX Club in the early 2000s with his dad and brother, before moving to the Peckham club.
Ken Floyde, 60, founded the club in 1981 in the summer after the Brixton riots, with a vision of helping to support young people through sport and remains full-time chairman of the club.
He said: “We’ve got a few hopefuls. They’ve been inspired and some of them want to be the next Kye Whyte.
“It gives kids a sense of wellbeing. They’re excited and they love it.”
Mike Woof, 59, is a journalist who has volunteered in the running of the club since his children started riding there.
He said: “It has picked up since the Olympics, and there’s a lot of people talking about the Olympics.
“The whole of the South London BMX started with Ken. He’s not quite had the recognition that he’s due.
“I think it’s just incredibly positive for the kids.
“There’s all sorts of distractions in South London and over the years it’s given a really positive start in life for a lot of people.”
A Facebook post by BMX legend and Brixton alumnus Charlie Reynolds after Whyte’s Olympic success said: “Without Ken there wouldn’t have been me or the Whyte Brothers. We would have been unheard of if it was not for this humble man.”
Floyde was back on the track himself after he celebrated his 60th birthday this year, as the rest of the club pooled together to get him a BMX of his own.
Floyde started the club after seeing a BMX race in Earl’s Court in 1981 – on his way home that day, he stopped off at Stockwell skate park and asked the kids riding there if they would be interested in a BMX club.
The club still faces barriers to inclusion, as Floyde said ‘postcode wars’ in Brixton still prevent some groups from coming into Brockwell Park and giving BMX a go.
To try and combat this, they have been running outreach sessions on estates in the area, in partnership with Cycling UK.
The weekend training sessions have an exciting and inclusive energy, welcoming riders from three to 60 and the coaches were even patient enough to let me wobble my way around the track.
Many members of the club ride competitively, with some ranking in the top ten nationally for their age group.
The club is run by volunteers, and they hire qualified coaches to lead the weekend training sessions.
They have their own bikes and helmets, meaning anyone can come along and take part in the weekend training sessions.
A council grant is enabling them to upgrade and resurface the track next month.
The club runs novice, intermediate and expert sessions every Saturday and Sunday morning with British Cycling coaches.