Scottish track racer Chris Hoy had flown to La Paz, Bolivia to attempt to break world kilometre record, held by Arnaud Tournant of France, on 13 May 2007. Unfortunately conditions didn’t play in the big Scot’s favour and he missed out on the record by five thousands of a second. However, Hoy smashed the 500m world record by over a second.
The organising team had spent six days in Bolivia setting up the attempt and during this time was acutely aware of the differences between the opportunities available to young cyclists in Great Britain and those open to cyclists in one of the poorest countries in South America.
On his return from breaking the record, Hoy set about contacting some of the companies who helped support his record attempt to see if there was anything that could be done to help.
DHL, who shipped 1,000 kilograms of equipment to La Paz for the attempt agreed that they would make available a container – and if Hoy could fill it, they would ship it. This was all the incentive Hoy needed to set about kitting up the young cyclists he had met on his trip.
A few phone calls and favours later and Hoy had managed to secure 22 track bikes from Dolan Cycles, the company who builds his own track bikes. Helmets, tools, shoes and spares all came courtesy of Halfords, who in March announced their sponsorship of the Great Britain Cycling Team. Cane Creek supplied a set of carbon fibre race wheels and on May 12, a day before the anniversary of his record attempts, Hoy was packing up the kit to send courtesy of DHL to Bolivia. He was helped to pack the truck by young cyclists from the Manchester Velodrome, all of whom have attended the DHL Sprint School.
Hoy has successfully managed to secure bikes, kit, equipment and spares that will enable young people from all over La Paz to go along to the velodrome. The supplies mean that children can just turn up in nothing more than the clothes they are wearing and experience what it’s like to ride the track. Hoy now hopes this opportunity will give the youngsters the experience he enjoyed growing up in Scotland.
“I remember my first time on Meadowbank track and how much fun it was,” Hoy said. “I just felt that it was unfair that so many of these kids lived near this amazing track but would never get the chance to ride it on a proper bike or with proper safety equipment.
“It’s something I take for granted that I had a bike as a kid and look what it’s done for me,” he added. “After my experience at the velodrome in La Paz I really wanted to give something back to this amazing place, and with the help of DHL, Dolan, Halfords and Cane Creek, that’s exactly what I’ve been able to do.”