Well hello there reader. Today was my first ride out on the bike for….. too long. As a bike shop owner I’m often asked “do you ride much yourself?”. The answer is usually not very often or rarely!! I’ll be honest, the last time was June 2021 and even further back to find regular riding. It’s difficult to find the time in a busy week. Easy to find an excuse not to. Many of you will understand my last statement, As let’s face it, we all have busy lives now. Many other responsibilities, work, family and friends all to fit in to a narrow window of free time.

My son has been an inspiration for me since he was born 11 years ago He’s why I work so hard. For some weeks now he’s been asking me “when are we going out on the bikes dad?”. I had been promising this for a while and then today it finally happened. Neither one of us has done much cycling in a while, so it was always going to be a challenge. As an experienced cyclist i recognise the importance of encouraging the next generation. cycling is a great activity and can be enjoyed by almost anyone. As transport it’s clean and environmentally friendly.

A little more care needed…..

Today was a great day the sun was out and a gentle breeze was blowing. As we set out on our journey, of indeterminant length LOL, we happened upon a group of riders. As they were moving much faster than us, I instructed my son to move in behind my wheel. Also I requested to the lead rider that the group of approximately 6-8 slow down. This was greeted with silence. The Group rode past us, neither thanking us for letting them by or greeting us. I find this rude. Its just how I treat others and it costs nothing to be polite.

Many folks new to cycling have not came up through cycling clubs or riding groups where they would be taught by more experienced cyclists of the unwritten rules of the road. This is even more relevant on bridleways where other users are often present. During the past six years of owning a bike shop, I have been frequently appalled by the attitude of some new, it seams also a minority of experienced cyclists who should know better. At it’s heart cycling as a sport for all. It’s more inclusive I think then a lot of folks realise. This may be an unpopular opinion to some who want it to remain for the minority. The elitists if you like.

So what are these rules, should I follow them or can I ignore them? There are of course many rules. The most important of which is be polite. In County Durham we are very fortunate to have a network of these bridleways and quiet lanes which link together as part of the national cycle network. You’ll see the blue signs with place names and distance at regular intervals. on these bridleways It is possible to ride in safety. I can tell you from experience hurts when a horse kicks you. So do yourself a favour, use your common sense slow down and pass with a wide birth if possible. If not be prepared to stop and let the horses by.

Consett is near Blackhill , Home of Steel Town Cycles.

Running a bike shop in a small town in the north east of England is not so easy. I don’t drive an expensive car. I don’t have lots of foreign holidays, I work. When I rarely take time off It’s to spend time with my family and friends. Why do I continue then, if it’s so difficult to make a living from? The answer is I’m good at it! I’ve raced Mountain bikes, Downhill MTB, Cyclocross and Road. Happily I’m a better mechanic and bike shop owner than I was at racing.

Giving back to the cycling community despite all the hardships and some local hostility, though not from the two other bike shops in my area. Has always been my goal at Steel Town Cycles. We are a small Independent bicycle retailer. We sell new and refurbished bikes, Service and Repair your current machine. Whatever type or brand it is. eBike or standard bike.

Wether you’re a Single parent, a family, experienced cyclist or if racing is your thing. We can and will help you get the most out of your bike. From advice to choose your first bike, next bike or which new components service or repair would work best for you we are here for all.

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