Jerome Ameline has been a regular competitor on the local cycling circuit for many years and considering he runs his own cycling fitness gym, the lively Frenchman is likely to feature in many races in the future.
Ameline grew up around bikes. He started racing in 1988 at age 13, competing almost every Sunday for seven years until he became a parachutist in the French military. Then cycling had to take a back seat for a year.
His passion for cycling was instilled by his dad, who used to race in his 20s. Young Jerome was always involved in his local cycling club and his father helped organize races.
“Cycling is healthy, a non-impact sport – as long as you don’t fall – very good to de-stress, great for making new friends and is excellent to push your limits,” says Ameline. “It is also a gentleman’s sport.”
Ameline has a full and varied experience in sports in his 40 years.
He was a boxer in his 20s, raced motorbikes, and rowed for two years in England’s Henley-on-Thames, the traditional home of rowing.
Needless to say, cycling has been the most time-consuming sport in Ameline’s life since he was a kid.
“I raced locally in Normandy, did the tour of Dominican Republic in 2009, participated in the Island Games in 2010, and have competed in most races in Grand Cayman since 2002, including the Cayman Triathlon and Duathlon, although I don’t really like to run or swim.”
A spinning instructor at Revolutions Indoor Cycling since 2006, he also sells and services racing bikes.
“My life has basically a lot to do with bicycles.”
Yet his sporting hero is Sir Steve Redgrave, a five-time Olympic gold medalist in rowing.
“Rowing is a very challenging sport, and I find it inconceivable to be on top of the game for 20 years straight like Redgrave was.”
Ameline loves the variety of sports that have emerged in Cayman in the time he has lived here.
“I was amazed by all the different activities available in Grand Cayman when I moved here. It should be impossible for anyone to stay inactive in Grand Cayman as there is so much offered, helped by the nice weather all year long.
“There is a multitude of gyms, personal trainers, sports associations, and the beach is here 24/7 for a light walk or jog, as well as a cycling path on the new bypass to ride safely.”
Like most riders in Cayman, he dreams of Cayman having a racing cycle track. It could also improve the tourism revenue by attracting international races, he said.
As for the benefit of cycling to youngsters, Ameline feels there are many positives. “We just need a piece of land, a bit of concrete, and we could keep some people off the roads to train from every age and abilities.”
He added that he self-financed his spinning center but cannot afford to complete a racing track alone.
More cycling paths would be great in the East End direction, he said, which makes sense considering how few people live and work there compared to George Town and West Bay. Most cycling races take place on the Queen’s Highway anyway.
Ameline’s next big event is the 10-mile time trial, organized by the Cycling Association, on South Church Street on Sept. 6. He is one of the island’s fastest cyclists, and despite recently passing the big 4-O, not many are able to beat him.
As for remaining sporting ambitions, he says “I haven’t done much sea fishing yet, but look forward to getting my first tuna.”
Ameline adds that there is one cycling achievement he knows is beyond his reach: “I have a fascination for the one-hour world record on track. It is incredible how fit you have to be to sustain such an effort for 60 minutes. Sir Bradley Wiggins recently established a new record.”