I was recently asked why I love cycling so much… For me the answer is simple, and several words quickly sprung to mind, amongst them friendship, laughter, adventure, community, comradeship, and travel, to name a few… What’s not to like about some, if not all of those aspects of the sport? When combined together, in my book, they make a truly compelling mix.
Ten years ago I used to be ribbed by work colleagues for cycling so much (I think they thought it was a bit square and not so trendy to wear Lycra, especially by choice). In recent years the tables have turned – many of those very people have adopted the sport and now regularly ask my advice on what to wear, they request information on recommended routes to ride, and trips to plan, both at home and abroad.
Locally in London the Ride100 has done wonders to drive interest in cycling. In addition Froome, Wiggo and their Tour de France success has also been a key driver to raise awareness of the sport. Essentially cycling is accessible to all, irrespective of your age or your fitness level, and that’s one of the many reasons I love it so much.
For me cycling has become a major part of my life. And this is why…
I’ve met some amazing people and made some wonderful friends through cycling. They span multiple decades and cycle rides have been known to feature friends in there 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. We share great times together both on and off the bike – beer, food and fun are a regular feature!
We laugh a lot and then a bit more – you know the kind of laugher that makes your belly ache and your eyes leak – that’s my buddies and me. We take the mick out of each other, play pranks on each other, celebrate birthdays together, and generally have a bloody good time.
Sometimes it’s just fun to go with the flow. Last summer a friend posted on Facebook – “Anyone fancy riding from London to the Isle of Wight and back?” – and I thought, sure, why not! What was meant to be a 300km ride turned into 373km and 14.5 hours of riding; I left home at 5.30am on Sunday and got home at 1.15am on Monday. Basking in the sunshine, relaxing on the ferry crossing, and consuming lots of food – a memorable, great day was had by all.
I’m a member of the Kingston Wheelers Cycling Club – a fantastic club based in South West London. From fast, short TT’s and LONG Audax routes, to Summer BBQ’s and Sunday Club rides – there’s something for everyone. We’re a pretty social bunch.
We’ve all had bad days when we’re suffering on a bike. Where we’ve not eaten enough food, not had enough water to rehydrate, our lungs aren’t working or simply our legs have had it; that’s when you really want and need your friends around you to keep you going. No one ever gets left on the road.
I’ve experienced many countries and cultures. From the high and midi Atlas mountains in Morocco where there’s truly breathtaking scenery; the classic cols of Mallorca, Corsica and Sardinia that again offer stunning views and an amazing array of seafood to refuel; to Raids in the Alps, Pyrenees, and Dolomites, where there’s climbs and descents for all abilities, there’s hundreds of amazing places to visit. I wonder where I’ll go next?
A sport for all to enjoy… any time of the year
There’s something invigorating and refreshing about feeling the fresh air, wind and sometimes rain on your face. So whether the sun is shining and there are blue skies above, or whether there are grey stormy clouds and the sun is no where to be seen – I always feel compelled to get out on my bike. It won’t surprise you to hear I have a two-wheeled machine for every occasion.
Be part of something special
Whatever your reasons – health benefits, weight management, socials, adventure, and travel – get in the cycling mix. You’ll be amazed what you discover about yourself, your resilience, and what your body can do when you put your mind to it.