Torwood Wheelers


History of the Rhoenrad

After the first World War Otto Feick, a railwayman and son of a blacksmith was imprisoned. While in prison he remembered an experience of his childhood, where he rolled down a hill in two barrel rings which were tied together and Feick planned to build a gymnastic apparatus out of his childhood dream. After his release he developed the Gymnastic Wheel which he called "Rhoenrad" and in 1925 Feick patented the wheel and reserved all rights in 30 countries.
Feick gave presentations in England, France and the USA supported by a group of selected gymnasts and the first international Gym Wheel contest, took place in Bad Kissingen in1930. This become the basis of future international Gym Wheel competitions.
The international development was interrupted by the second world war, but afterwards some gyrowheel enthusiasts started again. With success! In 1959 Rhoenrads became part of the German Gymnastic Federation (DTB).

History of the Torwood Wheelers
My first sight of a Rhoenrad was in 1969 at the Basle Gymnastrada where I was a member of the S. England display team. I stood in one and rocked a little, but then never saw one again for nearly 30 years!
During this Time I was always involved in gymnastics and in 1997 I was looking for something different for our older gymnasts to do so I started a search on the Internet to find out more about them. Success came through Maria who located 2 wheels, one in Dundee, and one in London and after getting these to our gym club, we started on the long road of learning to use them. Again Maria came to our rescue and she drove half across England to give us some basic training. Following that three of us attended the Rhoenrad Summer School in Wolfstein in 1998 and came home with a 3rd wheel on the roof of the car, and finally in 2000 The Torwood Wheelers came into being.
During our first year, we worked hard at publicity have now bought 4 more wheels thanks to a lottery grant of 2,618.

We are fortunate that foreign students and wheelers visiting England seem to hunt us out and come along to give us the benefit of their knowledge. Many thanks to Maria, Geesa, Sarah and Taija for all their help.

Jan 2002 saw a change in the club. We moved to much bigger premises at the Jets Sports Centre, Rendlesham, and have re-formed as an over 16s club. Both the location and the age group have made it hard to find members, but we are working on it.

By 2006 the club was well established at its new venue and membership was building. We bought 2 new wheels bringing the total to 9 from 1.85m to 2.30m

In December 2009 the club suffered a serious blow when the sports centre at Rendlesham was closed. For a year we trained in various village halls gardens, or wherever we could get space, however from the beginning of 2011 we now have a permenant home in the Sports Centre at Kesgrave