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24 September 2014

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The Torwood Wheelers in action...
The Torwood Wheelers in action...

Meet the squad

The British Wheel Gymnastics team are based in Suffolk. They're known as the Torwood Wheelers and they enjoy rolling around in Rendlesham. Meet a few members of the squad...

Torwood Wheelers
Torwood Wheelers

The Torwood Wheelers are the UK's only Rhoenrad squad. They meet on Friday nights, from 8pm at Rendlesham Sports Centre, near Woodbridge.

They welcome spectators and are looking for new team members.

You can contact the Wheelers at:

For more information see the links on the top right of this page>>

Extracts from our conversations with the Torwood Wheelers are below:


Georgi 19,  from Orford.


"I’m a gap year bum type – I do whatever comes up. I work as a deck hand a lot.

"Is there a Rhoenrad style? Yeah pretty haphazard. Riff raff we go for – slightly hobo. Most people wear tennis shoes with a bow at the other end and that’s how you can tell if they’re a Rhoenrader – it’s more practical – stops them getting tangled up.

”The important thing is the shoes really, you can wear absolutely anything – but not really big flares and you’d need hair clips if you want to wear a wig. Don’t wear flowery dresses or kilts!"


James, 20, is finishing a modern apprenticeship at BT, Martlesham. He’s been Rhoenrading (also known as wheeling) for three years.


”I also do lots of other sports -  I do a lot of  climbing and mountain biking.

”I took part in a trip to Finland last month – an international Rhoenrad training camp – a 12 day training course. It was a big international event – there were 300 people from all over the world – it was really good.”

Are you good at wheeling?

”I thought I was until I got there and saw some of the incredible things everyone else could do.”


Emma, 19, is from Martlesham, she’s a student, training to be a teacher at Hertfordshire Uni.


”I’m not sure how you pronounce it. I just know it as wheeling – it’s only my third week.

”It’s just something different – it’s fun - you meet different people and try out something new – definitely recommended.”


Holly, 19, from Martlesham Heath is a  student at Warwick Uni - studying biological sciences.


”I found out about Rhoenrad from my gymnastics club  - Ipswich Gymnastics centre – which John Colles also goes to.

"It’s completely different – it’s fun I’ve been doing it on and off for about six months - you gain confidence!”


Tony Colles, 23, has just finished studying German at Nottingham Uni.

”It’s really good exercise – it’s very graceful, very gentle, you develop control and strength at the same time and it’s a good laugh.

Tony Colles
Tony Colles

”Germans are fantastic at Rhoenrad. Germany is where the sport originated and you could say there’s something quite German about it... the precision, the control, the grace of it – it’s quite Germanic – they really excel at it.

”Here we have one centre and in Germany they have at least ten, two in Berlin, one in Dusseldorf – they are all over the country.

“The week before last was quite a breakthrough, I finally got the hang of spirals. They’re the ones where you tilt the wheel onto one rim and roll around, in a circle. I’ve got a bit of a habit of hitting the wall at the moment, still, I’m working on it.

“I’ve never injured myself or so far, anyone else, touch wood!”


Tony, 50, works for BT in Martlesham.


”My daughter got me into it a few years ago – she went along with a couple of school friends. I came along and helped John out. It keeps you fit, definitely does – I’ve been doing it for three to four years

"Wheeling is  enjoyable, keeps you fit – you can work up a sweat. Using your arms, legs, tummy muscles…

”You could say I’m part of the British team but I’m, like, not such a good part of the British team – we’ve got much better people. I’ve come along to help coach, really.”



Lorraine,  20, is a student at Oxford Brookes studying occupational therapy. She’s been wheeling “on and off” for about four years.

”It’s different – nobody knows what it is – it’s good to do something different. It’ easy to roll all the way around – I’d recommend it to everybody!”


Rachel, 20, from near Wickham is an outdoor leadership student in Cumbria.


"I enjoy it – good exercise, meeting people."

Are you good at wheeling?

"Not particularly – I try. You can’t really explain it – you have to experience it."


Jo, 19, has just had a gap year – she's studying for a levels next year. She’s been Rhoenrading for a  “few months.”


”I kind of like going upside down.  The first time I went upside down I hated it – I thought I was going to fall out and kill myself – but then once I'd done it, I kind of like doing it.”


John Colles, 59, has been Rhoerading for about seven years. He lives in Lower Orford.

”I’ve done gymnastics all my life – I run a gymnastics club. The wheels started off about seven years ago. We had a gymnastics club which was getting very big and we wanted to split it into two -  I wanted something different for the older ones to do.”

Do you think Rhonrads in the UK attracts eccentric people? Would you class yourself as eccentric?

John Colles
John Colles

"No – I just don’t like team sports – where you're all going along in a mob. It attracts people who like individual sports. A form of self expression? It’s just exciting. I find something like football incredibly boring. With wheeling, each time you learn something new – you get another stage forward.

”When you see someone who is really good at it, it’s a dance in a wheel - it’s beautiful.”

How to get involved...

The Torwood Wheelers are looking for new members and welcome spectators.
They meet on Friday nights, from 8pm at Rendlesham Sports Centre, near Woodbridge.

Contact John at:

last updated: 01/10/04
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