Last year my cycling hit a turning point, I finally traded in my old trusty (and slightly rusty) road bike for a shiny, all singing and dancing (and completely out of my budget) bike. Having convinced myself for many months in the lead up to the purchase that the more I spend, the more I will force myself to get out training, I can now confirm a year on my strategy has somewhat changed. Unintentionally more like a prized classic car; I am now the proud owner of a very very low mileage, dry stored, never ridden in the wet, nearly new road bike (I’m not sure it’s value has increased yet though)!
My cycling consists of sporadic events and rides usually well beyond my fitness level, accompanied by limited training yet alongside accomplished riders well within their comfort zone and fitness levels. Therefore the Velo 100 shall fit perfectly into my riding style. My strategy has led to team moral boosting comments (most not repeatable before the watershed) such as “what am I doing with my life” (said at 4 o’clock in the morning in the rain attempting a 24hr London to Amsterdam bike ride) and “this is the most miserable experience of my life” (said in the early hours of the morning on a dark rainy desolate rural French road during a 24hr London to Paris bike ride – whilst also suffering the ill effects of a dodgy chicken curry on the ferry).
I’m looking forward to taking on the Birmingham Velo and riding with the PFK team. I’m sure they’ll all appreciate my moral boosting from the back of the pack. PFK is a great cause and it is a privilege to help contribute to the cause. I’ve justified my lack of training as you shouldn’t enjoy yourself when raising money for charity. Also on the plus side – I don’t need to clean my bike for the start line!
I remember my first bike well, a Raleigh Pippin, in red, with stabilisers; that childhood frustration of getting stuck with your pedals spinning but not touching the ground (thanks to the stabilisers) still lives with me today. I progressed to a hand-me-down Raleigh Burner BMX, then a Raleigh 5-speed racer and then finally mountain bikes… There it stuck and I was hooked. Downhill, as fast as you can, on or off road, that thrill has never left me. These days the potential consequences have probably slowed me down a bit, but not subdued my enthusiasm.
Cycling these days takes the form of weekly mountain bike rides out with a bunch of mates, around the trails local to us and via any pubs on (or near) the chosen routes, commuting to work when time permits and taking my six year old out at the weekends, encouraging him to build jumps from a plank of wood and a couple of bricks, and not fuss when he falls off…
For me, cycling is my escape. One day it might escape me, but until that time, slow up, fast down!
My first day on a road bike was in July 2010 in the pouring rain, wondering what I was doing while waiting to start my ride from John O’Groats to Lands End while a deep sense of regret set in about my lack of training prior to such a challenge. Since that day, cycling has taken me across several countries, up Alps and to the occasional race win (not to mention a few hospital trips).
Now taking on the Velo Birmingham for a great charity with other like minded chaps in the PFK teams is a great opportunity and something I’m relishing the chance to be a part of. The enthusiasm and support Property For Kids have shown in the lead up to the big day is admirable and a credit to the good work they do. Now the event is closing in it’s time to get some good training in, but as the adage goes: It never gets easier, you just go faster!
Born again cyclist.
Inspired by the likes of Wiggins, Froome and the Yates brothers coupled with the health and fitness benefits, I found a sport that could give me what I needed no matter at what age. Cycling has enabled me to satisfy my physical and mental needs without breaking the bank.
Now retired cycling has rekindled my passion for the great outdoors wether riding solo or in a social group.
The opportunity to complete a 100 mile ride is every cyclists milestone and to do it for charity is an extra bonus.
In order to compete in the very first Birmingham Velo I recently joined a local club to get used to riding in a group although on a very much smaller scale.
It’s an absolute privilege to raise funds for a very worthy cause like the Property For Kids charity in this years Velo, the first of many I hope bring it on!!!
After picking up cycling at a relatively young age, bolstered by my passion to avoid jogging at all costs, I lost the buzz for it in my early teens as I progressed in other sports. However, later in life and post Uni my bike was there waiting and my passion for the sport returned. I can’t claim to be the most slender cyclist of my generation but hopefully what I loose up the hills I gain on the way back down, and it’s the enjoyment of being out on the road and in the saddle that drives me whether out on my own or with a group – and the opportunity for a deserved pub stop with your mates on the way around.
I’ve cycled in my fair share of sportives and the Velo looks like a great opportunity for Birmingham to mirror the fantastic RideLondon – I can’t wait to get going. A genuine enjoyment for the sport and the opportunity to ride with the PFK team whilst raising money for a fantastic cause means I am very much looking forward to the day!….. (and the pint afterwards)