Guest blogger & member of St Ives CC Frank Burns writes about the benefits of being part of a cycling club and his club ride cake stop at Grafham Cycling…
- St Ives CC members en route to Grafham Cycling for a cake stop
With the recent explosion in the world of cycling, prompted by the elevated profile of the sport in the Olympics and recent major Tours, I have seen for myself the hundreds of ‘newbie’ riders heading out on the roads, frequently riding solo, discovering the delights of the modern velocipede. They identify themselves by their untutored style of riding, the rudimentary bike they have, and the ‘multi-purpose’ kit they are wearing. But therein lies the strength of the sport. You can enjoy it at whatever level you choose, with whatever bike you have, and in whatever kit you feel comfortable. And that is how it should always be: the ultimate expression of freedom.
Some will inevitably look for something more from the sport. They may be inspired by the modern icons of cycling, looking for the stimulus that will only come with association: the association with other cyclists who have knowledge and experience, and are happy to welcome a new member into their ranks. I cycle regularly with four different clubs and groups, but my principal club for Sunday club rides is St Ives CC. I enjoy heading out to meet up with them at a cake stop, following a prescribed route, and then sharing anything up to 50 miles, riding as a ‘peloton’. Sunday club riding is both a sport and a social occasion. The miles pass by pleasantly and easily when you are working with a group, and sharing chat along the road. And the cake stop is a great moment of relaxation and friendly banter.
Membership of a club also brings a visual identity. If you wear the club kit when out riding solo, you are identified along the road by other riders and, sometimes, by fellow club members who will wave as you pass, or even join you for a few miles along the road. Club membership may also bring the support of commercial sponsorship, and links with a high profile retailer who can offer attractive discounts on cycling goods and, more importantly, a friendly and professional service that will cater for the needs of a club cyclist. I have been a customer of Grafham Cycling for more than 20 years, and their agreement to sponsor St Ives CC came as very good news. For the first time since that ‘coalition’, we had the pleasure of being hosted by Grafham Cycling for our cake stop last Sunday. A great affirmation of partnership, and some of us even came away with a ‘freebie’: an Endura musette! (I can see it doubling as a ‘man bag’ when off the bike).
Want to join a cycling club? Find your nearest club here.