Bill Wright

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Updated 14 April 2015

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Your President - William Wright

Well, apparently Iím President! Iím absolutely delighted, how did that happen? Thank you to everyone who has put their trust in me to hold this honour and responsibility of leading a club with such a long-standing and respected history. Iím indebted to Malcolm Adams for all the hard work heís put in, which has kept this Club as a really friendly and close-knit group for the last 5 years, while also doing a huge amount of work researching our founders, and keeping the profile of the Club high.

On Monday evening, following the AGM, I was honoured to be congratulated by no less than 5 past Presidents, including Derek Boon, who was President when I joined De Laune in 1987. Such a group of thoroughly nice men - I was starting to feel all venerable! I hope I can continue what theyíve started.

Iíve been asked to give a brief CV of my time in the Club, so here goes: When I joined I was just starting out in cycling at the tender age of 24, and I just thought Iíd give it a go for a couple of years as Iíd never really been all that competitive even while I was at school.

It was a vibrant Club in those days, with busy Thursday club nights, and well-attended club events with some real quality riders. We had a wide range of activities in those days, from roller-racing to track to time trialling to road racing, and some strong friendships were made, which I came to realise was probably the most powerful reason for belonging. Shared experiences of ambition, endeavour, fair play, hard work, success, and even bad luck and failure too Ė these are all things that help to build oneís personality and enable us to understand ourselves and each other.

In the early 90s I found a bit of a niche for myself in another branch of the sport, Mountain biking, which was a real growth area at that time - and I sought to gain a few new off-road members in De Laune to keep me company. We built up a quite strong off-road section, off to races all over the country, camping at weekends, and via an advert in MTB magazines - inviting riders to join our club in ĎSunny Peckhamí. The volunteer base was strong too, and Iím really grateful to De Laune members who were highly supportive in helping the Beastway Mountain Bike Series to get going in 1994. Iíve had to step away from running this now, but Iím really proud that itís still running, under new management out at Hog Hill 21 years on.

My main focus has become finding ways to encourage new people into the Club and into the Sport, and over the years Iíve found a variety of ways to do this. Whether it was working as manager of Herne Hill Velodrome, or setting up Herne Hill Youth CC, or working for British Cycling, Eastway Cycle Circuit and also briefly at Hog Hill, Iíve always had the greatest pleasure seeing people getting on bikes and growing in confidence as they gain fitness and a love for the sport.

Now we have a real challenge Ė to start to grow the membership in De Laune again. We have a lot of things on our side. Firstly there are a lot of potential members out there. Secondly we have some outgoing and keen regular riders who know and understand the South London cycling scene. We also have resources that can help to raise our profile and market ourselves more effectively. Riding and having fun, and providing opportunities to ride is mostly how to do it. Friendship, encouragement and having a laugh is most of the rest.

I look forward immensely to the next five years Ė during which time I intend to serve the Club well, and as a start Iím planning to get out on my bike a bit more and to be less well-rounded than Iíve become of late!

Best wishes, Bill Wright


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