BUDDING cyclists who go to school together have formed a new club in Penwith – and have already enlisted the support of a London 2012 Gold medallist.
Dani King, who won gold in the cycling team pursuit alongside Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell, has agreed to be honorary president of the club.
She was contacted by one of the organisers and now club chairman Duncan Smith, who saw the potential for a Penwith-wide club.
He said: "The club is thrilled that world champion and Olympic gold medallist Dani King, MBE, has agreed to be honorary president, and after her recent successes in Mexico, club members are looking to forward to meeting her in 2014."
The club has been formed out of a group of riders from St Ives School.
Mr Smith, who used to lead pupils from the school on guided cycle tours of Second World War sites in France, said he realised there was potential for a wider membership.
He said: "For a number of years we have been taking youngsters to Normandy to tour the D-Day landing sites and cemeteries by bike.
"The training has always involved some weekend rides around Penwith and through word of mouth, it became clear that there was enough support to open membership to young riders from other schools."
After months of planning, preparation and trial rides, organisers of Penwith Velo are now opening the doors to new members.
Now affiliated to British Cycling, the club has broadened its provision to include trail riding as well as touring, and is essentially a community club for riders aged 11 and up.
Mountain bike coach and club secretary Andy Wooders said he was encouraged by the support the club has had from the community.
He said: "Cycling is growing enormously in popularity and we are committed to providing as many opportunities as we can to riders of all disciplines.
"The French rides are always amazing but our first off-road trip to Cardinham Woods, near Bodmin, has introduced road riders to the exhilaration of trail riding."
The club's planned programme for 2014 includes trips to the Newport Velodrome, the D-Day beaches as well as a sponsored ride from St Michael's Mount to Mont Saint Michel in Normandy.
Interested riders are welcome to join and can find information at www.penvelo.org.uk or on the group's Facebook page.
There are rides planned on Monday and December 30, with a meet at St Ives School for a 9.30am start. Mince pies and hot chocolate to be served afterwards.