By Andy Hirst
One of the UK’s best-known cyclists has become patron for a Huddersfield charity.
Ed Clancy, who grew up in Denby Dale and Holmfirth and later set up home in Holmbridge, is the most successful Team Pursuit cyclist in history, having won gold with Team GB at three successive Olympics with 2021 marking his 16th year as a Team GB team pursuit cyclist as he competed in his fourth Olympic games in Tokyo.
Ed has just been appointed patron for the Milnsbridge-based Streetbikes charity founded by Gill Greaves which collects donated bikes, ensures they are roadworthy and donates them to people who otherwise would struggle to afford one. The charity also organises family cycling, women only rides and bike mechanic training.
Ed said: “I’m so honoured to be patron for Streetbikes. It’s a charity I’ve followed for some time. Gill is a local hero in my area and has given her time relentlessly to allow those who may never give cycling a go the chance to sit on a saddle, pedal and enjoy the freedom, the fun and the social aspects of this amazing sport.
“She has genuinely changed lives through her passion for cycling and I take my hat off to her for the amazing work she does. For me, the more people we can have on bikes and give access to bikes, the better.”
Gill said: “Streetbikes is so honoured and proud that Ed understands the vital work we do in the cycling world. From professional cycling to a child getting on a bike for the first time, he understands us and will be a great patron.”
Ed was born in Barnsley in 1985 and was scouted by British Cycling at the age of 16. He won his first gold medal with the Great Britain Team Pursuit squad at the 2005 World Championship aged just 20.
Since then Ed has competed as an endurance cyclist on both track and road, notably riding for JLT-Condor road team from 2011 to 2018. He won gold in Team Pursuit at both the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the London Olympics in 2012 and was World Champion in Omnium track cycling in 2010, winning a bronze medal at the London Olympics.
He fought to return from a back injury and surgery in September 2015 to win an historic third gold medal in Team Pursuit at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Ed retired from Team GB in August 2021 and currently works part-time for British Cycling’s Research and Innovation Team and consults for British Triathlon. In January 2022 he launched performance consultancy business Pursuit Line (https://pursuitline.co.uk/) with his long-term mentor and business partner, Phil Kelly.
In 2020, along with former road teammate Graham Briggs, he launched the Clancy Briggs Cycling Academy, aiming to get children learning and enjoying riding a bike.
Gill was working for Kirklees Council in 2009 and was co-chair of Kirklees Cycling Group when she realised there were very few opportunities for women to go cycling so she set up a project to recycle a few bikes for woman to tie in with community cycling events and Streetbikes grew rapidly from there.
Over the years Gill has raised more than £1m for Streetbikes with £750,000 from the Lottery and £250,000 from other grants.
Streetbikes also works closely with partners Kirklees Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority and is providing well-being cycling sessions for organisations including Third Sector Leaders Kirklees, an organisation which provides support for charities, social enterprises and community groups.
Streetbikes’ motto is: ‘Make friends, improve health and have fun.’
* Copyright for this story belongs to freelance journalist ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in stories for the media, press releases, blogging, copywriting, scriptwriting and applying for awards.