“I don’t just like cycling. I have an obsession.”
Paul Crapper is a father of five and runs a window cleaning business. Yet he still manages to coach cycling for Abergavenny Road Club eight hours a week.
“To the detriment of my wife,” he laughs. “She is amazing. I wouldn’t be able to do half the coaching without her support.”
The 47-year-old is a Head Coach at Abergavenny Road Club, and he specialises in cyclo-cross and mountain biking.
Every Saturday morning, he runs women only mountain bike sessions from 9am – 10:30am (which, through the winter, turn into adult intermediate cyclo cross sessions). And as soon as that’s finished, he turns his attention to Go-Ride until midday which sees up to 80 children taking part.
His women’s cyclo-cross sessions even earned the club a spot as a finalist in the Women’s Sports Trust Be a Game Changer Awards for the most inspiring local initiative.
It’s certainly an impressive coaching CV, given he only started biking five years ago:
“My son joined the club and then I got involved. Within a year, I asked if they needed any help and it went from there.
“It’s really rewarding to see the progression that a cyclist makes – whether they’re older, younger, male or female. It’s the confidence you see starting to build. It’s really all about getting bums on bikes for life!”
“We have some ladies who had never dreamt of getting on a cyclo-cross bike. Now they’re competing!”
Such is the popularity of his sessions that riders travel from far afield each week:
“Me being me, I always try to be the best I can be so I can pass it on to the riders so I always push myself and am learning something new.”
He also mentors the newer coaches to ensure they are comfortable in their roles and can deliver sessions that both challenge and improve riders. Meanwhile, other clubs want to learn the secret of his success:
“Other coaches want to come and see what we’re doing. People look up to me which feels very strange and overwhelming. It’s only little old me,” he laughs.
His latest challenge is providing sessions for disabled riders:
“I’m big on being inclusive and I’m really pleased to say we now offer sessions for the disabled.”
“We’re like one big family,” he smiles.
And thanks to Paul’s coaching skills and commitment, that family is getting a whole lot bigger.