For students who like cycling and having fun together, there is now WSWV Hellingproof.
Photo: Because the starter pistol did not work, Kropff grabbed a megaphone and used that. Photo: Guy Ackermans
On Wednesday evening a motley crew of 20 men and women gathered at the Bongerd sports centre for the first official training session of the student cycling club Hellingproof. The new cycling club managed to persuade rector Martin Kropff to start their first ride and cycle along with them.
Seven students took the initiative to start the new club last year; four of them are on the first board. ‘We felt the lack of a close group, a kind of hard core like Tartlétos has, with which you can not only go cycling but also go out for a meal or on an outing,’ says Jora Steennis. Making an appointment to go cycling through the Facebook group Wielrenners in Wageningen or WhatsApp is not the same. When you get back everyone goes their own way. Jora: ‘Now we have a set training evening and afterwards we sometimes eat together at someone’s house. We have also done things like taking part in a pub quiz a couple of times.’
Simon, a first-year student of Biology, is happy about Hellingproof. In Apeldoorn he was a junior member of a team. In Wageningen he misses the friendships and the routine of cycling together that you get in such a group. ‘Together you cycle faster and it is more sociable,’ says Simon.
PuppiesOn Wednesday evening the team plunges into the Binnenveld for bridge-to-bridge round. This is a familiar circuit for Wageningen cyclists: crossing the Rhine at Heteren or Rhenen and racing along the dyke to the other bridge.
‘We keep to the rules of the road and warn each other about cars and obstacles,’ says Casper Helling – who is honoured that the club was named after him. Before they leave he explains how warning signals such as ‘poles’, ‘oncoming’ and ‘car behind’ should be passed on within the peloton. No superfluous luxury when all you can see is the back wheel and backside of the person in front of you.
On the dyke, the peloton follows Helling’s instructions and practises riding in single and in double diagonal pacelines. The trick is to keep a good position in the peloton and to get back in again when you fall back from the front.
You tend to cycle faster than you would on your own. Someone who falls behind is done for, and rides back alone to the meeting point, this time on the bridge at Heteren. Then they fly up the Keijenbergseweg to Wageningen like a pack of exuberant puppies. Like this, cycling together is a walkover. And isn’t the countryside lovely. Helling: ‘Next time, hill training.’
April is cycling month
– WSWV was started in November 2013.
– On 1 April the club had 23 members.
– There will be a clinic with professional cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten (16 April).
– At Easter Hellingproof is going to Limburg to cycle and to see the Amstel Gold Race.
– Early in July there will be a mountain biking weekend.– Info: wswv-hellingproof.nl