After a period of time without riding a bike I got back into cycling first by doing part of my commute by bike. This saved me a ton of money which was handy as I had to re-stock the wardrobe with slimmer clothes.
I was having a lot of fun re-discovering bike riding, I’d been a member of the CTC in Essex as a youth, and so I added to my commuting by riding at the weekend. But there was something missing. I recalled how fun it could be riding with others. Climbs and distances that were tough become less effort when sharing the work with others.
So I sought out my local club, Reading CTC and will never forget the first ride I did with them. I was nervous, didn’t know quite what to expect but found a warm welcome from the group when I arrived at the start. It was a 20 mile leisurely and included a lunch stop at a pub. I then tried a 50 mile moderate but turned back home after 30 miles, unsure that I’d be able to do the distance. More rides followed and I gradually gained more confidence in my abilities.
But it’s not about the speed or distance, it’s about the camaraderie and the social side of going on a club ride that makes it special. Soon enough I felt I needed to give something back. It’s great being led on a ride with no worries or concerns about where and when and how long. But could I be a ride leader?
Five years on and I’ve led over 20 rides a year. Most are of a regular format on a Sunday or a Wednesday evening. I do also like to strike out a bit further. Some of my rides have involved a train or car for part of the way; and once a year I like to ride through the night starting at midnight – just to experience virtually traffic-free roads. I also organise mini-tours at weekends staying at hostels or hotels. Yet to go camping but it’s in my plans.
But beware! I do have a reputation for not always getting the direction of travel right, I’m usually too busy chatting, so u-turns are often a feature when riding with me.
Contact me if you want to know more about one of my rides and I do hope to see you on a ride soon.