01 May 2013 By Billy Hawkins
It’s all about the racking at our local triathlon club. Just in case you missed the Olympics last year and didn’t see the fabulous Brownlee brothers grab their bikes after the swim (the site of the extra 15 second penalty) you probably don’t know how important racking is to the triathlete.
As someone who has never had to try it, I speak with no authority at all, but the ease with which you grab your bike out of the rack informs the athlete’s end time; there are also safety issues. When children race (age 16) the concerns are even more relevant – we want to keep our future Olympiads interested in the sport and safe.
Usually the racks are made of steel and are therefore heavy to lift and move around. They are often hired into an event which is an expense borne by the clubs and organisers. A chance discussion with Tom Hall, the owner of Alitex and the wonderful pot of money provided by Triathlon England (for Hampshire to increase the ability of small clubs to run local events) which would contribute to the payment of them, has resulted in a mobile set of racking made in aluminium with a potential for racking 260 bikes. Usually this quality of equipment would need to be imported from the USA, again at great expense, so having Alitex manufacturing with aluminium just down the road has been another stroke of luck.
“Having lightweight racking locally and at low cost allows all the Hampshire Triathlon clubs to run events for adults and kids much more easily” says Simon Russell from Petersfield Triathlon Club.
Mark Blackwood (Alitex factory team) came up with the good idea of keeping a level of flexibility with the interlocking element of the rack, allowing the racks to be sited on uneven ground if necessary.
Simon is pleased with the result: “The flexibility on rough ground is good but the real design coup was making it light, strong and simple to put up and dismantle. Mark and Glenn (Alitex) really listened when I explained how it would be used. The design means that a small amount of racking for a small event can go on a roof rack making it even more cost effective.”
We are looking forward to seeing the racks in action, but for the meantime, we are happy to support our local community and hopefully contribute in some small way to the athletes who will take the baton from the Brownlee’s.
For more information about the design and manufacturing at Alitex click here.