As I’ve said in previous blogs my relationship with cycling started a long time ago, but its not always been a steady committed one. I’m sure whatever we all enjoy about cycling is different, but there are a fair few crossovers. From the committed racer on and off for more than 15 years through different disciplines, cross country mtb, a short stint at downhill mtb racing, road racing and Cyclocross. Now my cycling has changed. I find myself wanting to get out on those 70-100 mile epics that I still feel I have in my legs. The simple fact is I don’t. This doesn’t mean I enjoy the ride any less. I appreciate that I’m discovering a new love and trying rediscover why it is I pedal around. Its just that squeezing in a 1 hour ride ride into my day comes down to finding the motivation.
We are very fortunate that in Derwentside we have so many options for terrain, road, off-road or a mix of both. There are many possibilities riding into Weardale or Northumberland for example. As I begin to think of what my targets are this year in terms of events etc one thing is clear – just ride more. Fitting it in is the next challenge, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Riding with a group of whatever standard to suit you is really motivating. Cycling is one of those curious sports where it may appear very solitary from the outside, but without his or her teams’ support in a big race, the professional rider would struggle; this is no different to the enjoyment of cycling away from the competitive circuits and tracks.
Steel Town Cycles started a small rides group last year and we managed to get 6-8 regulars out. There is a mix of abilities and we all motivate each other no matter how fast or slow we all just ride and enjoy the company of other like minded folk. A small group gathered to get some of the kids out on the 2017 NECCL (cyclocross league), and it was great to see the passion for cycling bubbling away in the younger members. This year I’d really like to see some more coming out. We only ride 1 evening per week, TBC at this point which day. I’ve seen some lovely people recently bringing in bikes that have been having a rest for a while. Whatever motivation brought them to decide to get that bike out, it makes me happy that in some small way, I’ve encouraged that participation and I really do hope to see them in our little rides group.
As I rediscover my motivation I will hope to encourage more people to hop on their bikes. Set yourself a challenge – to ride with the kids to Rowlands Gill, or ride to Waskerley; start small and build up. Whether your target is to get a little bit fitter, enjoy rides with the kids or complete a 100 mile ride by the end of the summer (this is my goal)- Chapeau.
Chapeau! is often used as a generic expression of approval and appreciation in France and other parts of Europe: as a sign of admiration or respect, one shall indeed remove their hat.
Join us on a ride – there are two great groups on Facebook ours is @steel town cycles-rides group the other is @Leadgate-Lets get on Our Bikes.
If you don’t have a bike, there is an initiative by Durham County Council to get people fitter @Cycle Durham.
Also in our area, Wellbeing for Life are doing some great things. Have a look at their Facebook page @CountyDurhamWellbeingForLifeService