Greg Blood Guest Post: Project Rainbow



I am delighted to have another Clyde Street guest blog post by Greg Blood.

Greg has an interest in the ingredients of a successful high performance program. He is researching successful Olympic and Paralympic high performance programs. This post is his book review of Project Rainbow – How British Cycling Reached the Top of the World .

Project Rainbow

Since the 2008 Olympics, British Cycling has become a leading and feared cycling nation. I eagerly looked forward to reading Rod Ellingworth’s book ‘Project Rainbowto see if it provided an honest insight into this high performance sport success story.

The book takes you through Ellingworth’s journey from a development coach to playing an important coaching role with British Cycling and the Team Sky Cycling teams. Ellingworth documents how he established British Cycling’s Academy squad in 2002 and how this has borne significant results at the Tour de France, World Championships and Olympic Games. This coaching journey particularly focuses on the career road cycling sprinter Mark Cavendish and his win in the road race at the 2011 World Road Cycling Championships in Copenhagen.

Ellingworth’s account has provided a good insight in the rise of a British cycling. The main factors I gleaned from the book were the strong leadership of Peter Keen and Dave Brailsford, financial support from UK Sport, development of strong cultures, and attention to detail. Ellingworth discusses how the Australian and Italian cycling systems have influenced the British model and the role of two key Australians – high performance coach Shane Sutton and physiologist Tim Kerrison. Ellingworth highlighted the importance of psychiatrist Steve Peters in assisting him to establishing rules and consequences when establishing the British Cycling Academy for U23 cyclists.

Ellingworth stated in setting up the British Cycling Academy: “My goal was to produce a crack squadron of bike riders, mentally drilled, and trained like the SAS. In cycling terms, they could go in and kill anybody at any moment. I wanted a driven team.”

The focus on Mark Cavendish’s development throughout pointed out some of the difficulties in managing his behaviour but Ellingworth noted early only his desperate desire to win. Ellingworth notes that his relationship with Cavendish was close because he believed in structure and discipline and was intensely interested in the history of cycling.

Ellingworth provides a good insight into the development of Team Sky cycling program and the difficulties in establishing it. The philosophy of Team Sky `was “to listen to our riders more than any than any other team – not just the one or two big hitters but every rider’. Team Sky has become a dominant force in international road cycling with Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome winning the last two Tour de France.

Ultimately Ellingworth’s planned journey in assisting Cavendish to win 2011World Road Cycling Championships road race was successful. This insight into the many years of planning will be useful to other coaches embarking on such a journey with a team or athlete. Cavendish failed to win the Olympic Games road race due to the nature of the course and what Ellingworth described as ‘our 5 trying to control 135 others’. This highlights that high performance plans do not always succeed due to external influences.

Whilst I am not a cycling aficionado and did not fully understand some of the coaching and training discussed in the book, it did provide an excellent view on how long term planning in high performance sport can lead to the end goal of championship success. I recommend this book to coaches and high performance managers to who want to gain a better insight into developing high performance cultures.

Photo Credit

Men’s Road Race 33 (Adam Bowie, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Cycle Tourism Conference and Rail Trail Symposium

The University of Canberra is hosting a Cycle Tourism Conference and Rail Trail Symposium on 2 and 3 February 2012.

Both events are being organised by Dennis Puniard.

The Tourism Conference takes place over two days and the Rail Trail Symposium on 3 February.

At the Tourism Conference there will be:

Four Keynote Addresses

Matt Lamont (Southern Cross University), The overlooked cycle tourism segment: Active spectators.

Chris Bull (Canterbury Christ Church University, UK) A Systematic Review of Evidence for the Local Impacts of Tourism and Leisure Cycling.

Craig Groke (Manager, Economic Development , Regional Development Australia, Barossa SA) The Chicken or the Egg? Which one is responsible for the success of Cycle Tourism in South Australia?

Sally Rodgers (Cycle Tourism Officer,  Murray to Mountains), The Murray to Mountains Rail Trail ; The Benchmark for Australian Cycle Tourism – The story thus far and future plans.

Fourteen papers:

Peter Thompson (Project Manager, Roads ACT), Build it and they will come – Cycling in the Australian Capital Territory.

Marjan Moris (Tourism Policy Support Centre,Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium), Cycling as a tool for regional (tourism) development.

Jun Shao (Beijing Forestry University), Connecting Through Social Media: The Case Of Chinese Cycle Tourists.

Dennis Puniard (University of Canberra), The impact of new technologies on cycle tourism; How cyclists use websites, blogs and social networking tools.

Ray Freeman (School of Tourism and Hospitality Management at Royal Roads University, Canada), Mountain Bike Tourism and Community Development in British Columbia: Critical Success Factors for the Future.

Stephen Schwer (Tourism Development Officer, Southern Flinders Regional Tourism Authority), Falling in Love Again: Helping government to fall in love again with cycle tourism.

Darren Stewart (Makin Trax) and Rod Florence (Territory Venues and Events), Stromlo Forest Park – Cycling Mecca risen from the ashes.

Peter Thompson (Project Manager, Roads ACT), Canberra’s Best Kept Secret – The Off Road Path Network.

Bruce Ashley (Director, The Environment Works), Cycling touring information and guide books: how they can contribute an integrated cycle tourism strategy.

Peter Neilson (Chief Executive Officer, Oncology Childrens’ Foundation), Charities and Cycling Events: how they attract a special type of tourist.

Blake Rowsell (University of Northern British Columbia, Canada), Mountain bike tourism development under the Midnight Sun: Capitalizing on site characteristics to maximize potential in the Yukon Territory, Canada.

Pam Faulks (THINK CANBERRA Director,  Canberra Convention Bureau), The Tour de Timor experience 2009-2011.

Daniel Carruthers (Zhejiang University, China), Sportive Cycling Events in China: Local Governments Promote their Unique Regions.

Louise Rose (Department of Resources Energy and Tourism), Tourism and Strategy – The  View from the Top.

Two panel sessions: Cycle Tourism Experiences; and Cycle Tourism Research Issues and Funding.

The Rail Trail Symposium program includes:

A Keynote Address by Sally Rodgers (Cycle Tourism Officer, Murray to Mountains)

The Murray to Mountains Rail Trail ; The Benchmark for Australian Cycle Tourism – The story thus far and future plans.

Ten Papers:

Steven Kaye (Vice President, Rail Trails Australia), The State of The Nation:  the best of the bunch and where we can get better

Michael Oxer (Chairperson, East Gippsland Rail Trail Committee of Management), Count your chickens as they hatch, OR Is there anyone out there?

Arianne Reis (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Southern Cross University), A conceptual model for rail trail development as a significant tourism product and Combining tourism products to increase tourism demand for rail trail tourism

Darren McClelland (Director, Enjoy Inspire Consulting Pty Ltd), In anticipation of a new adventure: what do cyclists expect?

Michael Maher (Director, Transplan Pty Ltd), Overcoming Adjoining Landowner Opposition to Rail Trails

Dennis Puniard (University of Canberra), Rail Trails in Southern NSW; Prospects and Possibilities

Petrina Quinn (Riverina Highlands Rail Trails Group), Riverina Highland Rail Trails – A work in progress

Denise Cox (Fraser Coast Regional Council, Queensland), Mary to Bay Rail Trail

Peter Lee (Newcastle Cycleways Movement), The Fernleigh Track

A Panel Discussion on the topic of Rail Trails 2020: A vision for the future of Rail Trails in Australia.


Freedom Wheels

A couple of months ago I was fortunate to be introduced to the work of TADACT, a voluntary organisation in Canberra.

TADACT is “a non for profit organization which specialises in creating or modifying equipment for people with a disability or the elderly. TADACT can assist people of any age with any type of disability by designing and making innovative equipment which is otherwise unavailable. We can also modify or repair commercially available equipment to make it better suits the client’s needs. The equipment is made and modified by our skilled volunteers who donate their time to provide innovative solutions to problems.”

TADACT’s mission is “to improve the quality of life for people with a disability of all ages and the elderly and those caring for them through the application of technology”.

I have been very impressed by TADACT’s commitment to and support of social inclusion. One aspect of this work has grabbed my intention. In one of my visits to the organisation’s offices in Holder, I saw some bicycles in a storage room.

The bikes intrigued me. I have a profound commitment to play and playfulness in children’s lives and these bikes epitomise play. As I followed up on these beauties stored in a cupboard I learned more about TADACT’s role in providing bikes and the partnership with Freedom Wheels.

TADNSW host the scheme and point out that:

For most children, their first bike ride is a rite of passage. But for children with a disability, this can seem unachievable.

They developed Freedom Wheels as a customised bike program in collaboration with Amway’s One by One Foundation, to offer children with disabilities the opportunity to ride a bike for the first time.

TADNSW’s healthcare and engineering staff assess each child at a bike clinic and write a specification for a bike that will meet their exact needs. This may include stabiliser wheels, postural supports, belts, footcups, towbars and modified handlebars.This service is available to any child with a disability. There is no means test.

I was driving into Canberra last week and was overtaken by a Freedom Wheels van.

It was raining but I am convinced I saw sunshine coming out of the van!

Amway point out that “the vision is that the FREEDOM WHEELS program will expand and be offered nationally. How wonderful it will be to provide modified bikes for children in all states across Australia!” (See what is happening in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania in addition to NSW and the ACT.)

Freedom Wheels Modified Bike Service is included as a case study in the NSW BikePlan. I am very keen to make Freedom Wheelers a focus for my research and practice. Mobility is inclusive, play is contagious!