Passionate about the many benefits that cycling brings, Diane Clayton Chisholm is both a youth coach for the West Lothian Clarion Cycle Club, and the current Scottish Mountain Biking Cross Country Champion (for her age category!).
Like many people, Diane’s love for cycling started as a child. “I got my first BMX as a child and it really all started there. But when I got a bit older it wasn’t quite as acceptable for a teenage girl to be riding a BMX so I bought a mountain bike instead.
I’m really lucky; my husband also shares my love of mountain biking. It’s something that we can do as a family, with our two boys, but equally we take it in turns to go out separately as well. I really appreciate that, because it’s something I enjoyed before I had kids, and my husband’s supported me to continue to do that.”
As well as mountain biking, Diane is a coach for the West Lothian Clarion Cycle Club.
“There are currently 200 adults and 80 youths in the club, with another 100 youths on the waiting list. We provide skills coaching to kids from 6-18 in mountain biking (at Beecraigs), road riding and cyclo-cross (at Linlithgow Leisure Centre). As under 16’s can’t be coached or race on open roads, it’s important that they have a safe, traffic-free environment to be coached in and to race in. So we have permission to use the car park at Oracle in Linlithgow, which is great, but not quite big enough. That’s one of the reasons we’re supporting the town’s Kettilstoun project.”
The aim of the Linlithgow Community Development Trust project is to build Scotland’s first ever closed road cycle circuit; 1km of quality track for everyone in Linlithgow (and central Scotland) to enjoy and an opportunity to access a safe, traffic-free cycling environment. “It will also help us to try to expand the club and give more youth riders the opportunity to get involved.”
“60 out of 200 members of Clarion are female which is really great, but we’d still like to see more women in the sport!” exclaims Diane. A lot of women are quite self-conscious about racing, so I offer coaching sessions to the adult club members too.”
“The things I love most about Linlithgow are the community we have and being able to just walk or cycle everywhere. We have cycling options too; if I want to go mountain biking for fun, Beecraigs is great. I can ride my road bike on the quiet roads, but I can also use my cyclo-cross bike to go along the Glasgow-Edinburgh canal route or national cycle route 76 through Hopetoun and Bo’ness.”
In between cycling, coaching and family life, Diane is currently studying for a Masters and works in Learning and Development for the NHS. “I’m enthusiastic about getting people more active; now more than ever we have opportunities for being healthy, and on our doorstep here in Linlithgow.
First published in Konect March 2017
Author: Louise Taylor