Since the official opening of the Avantidrome (by their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) five years ago, the venue has welcomed an impressive cross section of visitors, from children to champions, trikers to tours, gym-goers, elite athletes and even a 96-year-old local cyclist setting a world record.
The facility is not only home to New Zealand’s elite athletes, but has also become a popular destination where high performance meets community on a daily basis.
For the official birthday celebrations, the Avantidrome hosted free have-a-go sessions, gym tasters, tours and trike sessions for newcomers, as well as a series of complimentary sessions for regular riders.
Have-a-go participants travelled from across Waikato including Putaruru, Matamata, Hamilton and Tamahere, with others making the trip from Auckland.
The have-a-go star of the day was 82-year-old local woman, Arline Pile. Arline is a regular visitor to the Avantidrome but explains, “I normally ride the three wheelers in the Avantidrome Trikes sessions and have always wanted to try the two wheelers on the track and today is the day.”
Arline gave many younger participants a run for their money on the 250m wooden velodrome as well as achieving a personal milestone.
Also part of the celebrations were appearances from cycling superstars based at Avantidrome for training. Cycling New Zealand’s Eddie Dawkins, Emma Cumming, Olivia Podmore and Harry Waine, accompanied by British Cycling’s Mark Stewart, joined a group of 22 avid Avantidrome riders who had an exclusive opportunity to ride with the champs. Dawkins, Cumming, Podmore, Waine and Stewart took to the track with a group of excited youngsters and excitable grown-ups for an hour and half of skill sessions and racing. The session was topped off with a series of signings on commemorative pieces of Siberian Spruce (the wood the track is built from) and bike frames and helmets.
Home of Cycling’s general manager, Scott Gemmill said of the day: “Five years is a significant milestone for the Home of Cycling (HoC) that’s worth celebrating.
“We wanted to do something to say thanks to our loyal riders and the wider community for their support. The numbers were strong and the wow factor was high.
“Huge thanks must go to our small team of dedicated staff, who once again went above and beyond during the weekend, away from their own families to put on this fabulous event for the community to experience how lucky we are to have this amazing facility in Cambridge. We’re excited to be working on what the next five years will bring.”