Try Something Sportive
I am a solo bike rider for the most part, as I’m sure a lot of you out there are. I like the freedom of riding on my own with no body telling me where I should and shouldn’t ride. I like the idea of being able to go where I want to go. I do have a couple of friends that I ride with now and then but for the most part it’s a solo experience.
A few years back I started noticing posters and adverts for organised bike rides in aid of charity. It drew my curiosity, could I do such a ride, was I going to be laughed at by other cyclists when I needed a break, all these questions went through my head. However I decided that I would sign up and give it a go.
It wasn’t a long course, only around 30 miles and at the time I only had a mountain bike so I felt a little bit nervous to be quite honest. At the time I tended to spend a lot of my time actually riding my mountain bike off road but I had an inkling that I could be a road rider as when linking up the tracks on the tarmac I had a good turn of speed even with the knobbly tyres and suspension.
As with most of these events there is a charity element to them. I always feel a bit funny about asking people to sponsor me for things so instead I paid the entrance fee and then gave a donation to the charity organising the event.
I was given a number to pin on myself, not an easy task for me and to be honest it would have stayed on without a shirt on the first attempt as I pinned it to my skin in several places. After a few attempts I asked someone for a little help, job done I unloaded my bike and made my way to the start line. I was also given a postcard with a map on it.
There were an amazing amount of people there from all walks of life. Some people had turned up in big groups and there were others like myself that were riding it alone. As I got going round the course I settled in to a pace that suited me. Every now and then a couple of guys on ultra-light machines would go zooming past me and make me look like I was going backwards. I looked at these guys and thought how cool it would be to own one of these bikes, further sparking my interest in the road bike.
Along the way there were rest stops organised at local village halls where you could get a drink or a bite to eat. Everyone was very friendly and I even got talking to a few other riders who had some great stories to tell. I was really enjoying the day, the weather also helped as it was a beautiful day.
As I said earlier it was only around thirty miles in total and I was surprised how easy it was. At the finish line I was given a bottle of water and a certificate to prove what I had done, which I proudly stuck to my office wall.
I got a real buzz from the day, met a load of great people and helped a local charity, what more could I ask for.
Shortly after this event I bought my first road bike and then started doing longer charity rides. After a while I even gave up the mountain bike and am now a fully-fledged roadie. I ride mostly on my own still and when I get a chance I like to do sportive ride. There is one that I am a regular on and have done every year for the last seven years, but this year I have decided to try and do a few more, just to ride in different areas and meet new people.
If you are considering one of these rides but are a bit unsure take my advice and just go for it. There is nothing to be nervous about. You will have a fabulous day and meet some great like-minded people en route. You don’t have to be an Olympic talent either as you will see all sorts of people riding the route. You can take as long as you like because it’s not a race. Go at your own pace, have fun and enjoy the day.
When I have made a decision on the next one I want to ride, I will let you know and tell you how it all goes, so stay tuned until next time J