I could say cycling is a love affair that started for me as a pre-pubescent youth riding 3 miles to school, and doing wet and windy paper rounds on Morecambe promenade.
But that didn’t last and it was over two decades later in my late-30s that I started commuting to work that my addiction to cycling started. Call me crazy, but an accident whilst commuting three years ago seem to stimulate rather than suppress my cycling urge. My first road bike purchase followed six months after the accident.
It was only in the Summer of 2013 that I was introduced to Dittons Velo – I was aware of other cycling clubs but, for me, cycling has to be fun, so I’d stopped short of joining. Some clubs seemed to take themselves too seriously and be too much about racing. The friendly nature of Dittons Velo cycling attracted me, but also the wide range of abilities in the relatively small group so you can try out different speeds and routes until you’re happy you’ve found the right level for yourself.
Fact: the great bike builder in the sky didn’t design me to take on Cavendish in a sprint, or beat Froome in a climb up Mont Ventoux. My arms are too long, my chest is too wheezy, and my knees are too knobbly and weak. But none of that matters, and my Dittons Velo comrades have been a constant source of incredible motivation and encouragement. Just ask my wife how moody I get when I can’t join a ride (answer: very).
Why has it been better than riding alone? Well, learning new routes, pushing me to go a bit further and faster, occasionally digging deep to keep up the pace when I would have slowed down, and always having ‘buddies’ to give me a reason to ride even if the weather’s not great or I’m struggling to get out of bed on a weekend. Some of the rides have been slow and sedate, some have pushed me to near-exhaustion. I’ve enjoyed each and every ride, even some of the very wet days some of us have braved.
It’s been a great first six months with the club, I look forward to the years to come. It is because I believe in what Dittons Velo stands for: Cycling for all, that I not only ride, but I also help to organise the rides and write some of the material that appears on this website.
Follow me on Twitter @directoronabike
Or come and meet the real me on one of our Saturday rides. I’ll be the knobbly kneed wheezy one with a big grin on his face.