Back in March 2020 when the first lockdown took hold of the county, East Fife Triathlon Club set about trying to provide a variety of online activities for their junior membership.
Like so many other clubs they were limited in what they could provide, and nothing could replace the face-to-face contact that the club had enjoyed prior to March 2020. For the spring and summer months it was still a bit of a novelty with the children and young people in the club regularly joining in with online sessions and taking full advantage of the lovely weather.
However, subsequent lockdowns and limited activities became extremely disruptive for the club's junior members, particularly those aged 12 and over. Shorter days and colder weather in the autumn meant it was now difficult for them to get out on their bikes, which for many had been a welcome escape. As a club, they decided to apply for funding from the St Andrews Community Trust which funds projects in the St Andrews operating area.
The club would use the funds to purchase smart turbos which would help the young members with their training and keep them connected through several online platforms like Zwift, RGT and through twice weekly zoom turbo sessions. It was an ambitious application for a significant amount of over £7000 so they were absolutely delighted when the Trust awarded them the full amount. This funding was enough to purchase a smart turbo trainer for every member in that age group that wanted to join in the online sessions.
On applying for the funding, the club had to state how this project would benefit the local community. They felt that it would make a significant improvement to the participant's health and wellbeing through being able to stay involved and connected to their triathlon club.
East Fife Triathlon Club are proud of their retention rates of teenagers and felt that the equipment would be well suited to this age group in their training and development. On applying for these funds they had a good idea of the difference it would make to the participants but in reality, the difference the turbos have made in an incredibly challenging time has surpassed all expectations.
These are just a few of the comments from East Fife Triathlon Club members:
“Having the turbo has really boosted my fitness as after a long day at school it is often too dark and late to go out and exercise so having the turbo means I can cycle around Paris, London or even New York from the comfort of my home. As well as this I have been able to incorporate different styles of training into my training routine, my favourite being “brick” training where you cycle for a set amount of time, before hopping off your bike and going for a run. I really feel like this is developing my transitioning ability as well as my fitness.” Henry, 15
“I think that having a turbo to use at home is amazing! It has allowed me to participate in more club sessions, improve my cycling technique and explore the virtual world of Zwift. When I first got my account for Zwift, I was elated. I feel exhilarated whenever I ride alongside other people - even online - and it reminds me of cycling with my club. Last week I rode clipped in for the first time. I hadn’t really considered this before, and I wouldn’t have wanted to try this outdoors first in case I fell off my bike. However, on the turbo, I have been able to practice both mounting and dismounting without the possibility of crashing. I feel as if the turbo has given me the chance to improve my cycling technique - such as riding clipped in - for when we resume training as a club”. Ruben, 15
“I am finding the turbo really helpful and fun as I can use it when the weather is bad and it will help me improve my skills from home. I am enjoying using it a lot and the sessions are very useful”. Tara, 14
“I am quite new to cycling and the turbo is great because I can improve my bike fitness, get used to a road bike and improve my bike skills all from our house. The sessions are good fun and I really enjoy using the turbo”. Katie, 15
“Getting the turbo trainer has made me far more driven to train so that I can reach my goals for the upcoming race season”. Ruby, 15
“The turbo is really helping me to stay motivated during lockdown. It makes training more fun and is really helping me to build and maintain fitness on the bike but also in swimming and running”. Martha, 15
Triathlon Scotland Development Officer and East Fife Triathlon Club Coach Elise Methven said:
"As a club, we know how lucky we are to have received the funding. There are pots of funding available all over Scotland and we would urge clubs that are struggling or have initiatives that they would like to get funding for to just to give it go, approach the charity/trust and chat to them to get their advice on your clubs’ eligibility for funding and your project idea. It has made such a difference to our members and our clubs offering.”