‘It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.’ Ernest Hemingway.
Well, I can’t think of a more exhilarating and fun way to end 2018 -certainly nothing else that is printable at this moment!
When we arrived at Clee Cycles this morning, there were at least 20 cyclists waiting for the off, including two other female riders. What a glorious sight to see so many of us! For once, I had downloaded the route onto my Wahoo and could enjoy turn-by-turn navigation to reach our destination in Albrighton. So Andrew Davies charged Andy Mowbray and me with the onerous task of leading a small group to the 1232 cafe on Albrighton High Street. What could be simpler? All we had to do was to keep the group together and follow the arrows on my screen. Unfortunately some of us can’t follow instructions. When we reached the Rabbit Run near Stableford, Wahoo said right but my co-riders chirped up: ‘It can’t be right, we always go LEFT and THEN immediately right.’ Result: a small breakaway group consisting of Andy Mowbray, Andy Seymour and myself. We headed on in the right general direction and saw loads of other cyclists out on this warm and fine day but no one else from the BCC. We were definitely out on a limb. Eventually we caught up with the A group and they let us tag along with them till we reached the cafe. The sound of our bikes cutting through the air and our tyres whirring on the tarmac was thrilling – I felt like one bee in a swarm, all united in a common purpose and a common pleasure.
We arrived at the cafe and before long, the cafe was full of BCC riders, all enjoying a well earned bevvie and a slice of cake. We chatted and joked and then set on our way, heading back via Patshull Park, Worfield and The Hobbins. Here, I was indebted to some of the A team riders Neil Chatter, Neil Thomas and Andy Seymour who, knowing that I had ‘unfinished business’ with a certain Strava segment, helped push me along by setting a great pace. Without sounding like a Strava bore (!) I took 10 seconds off my previous time and moved up to number 2 all-time women – cue that mini fist-pump feeling 😉.
Eventually we arrived back at Clee Cycles. The busy and virtuous amongst us said goodbye and headed home and the rest of us undid all our good work by having a pint or two at the SVR. Sitting down with my new cycling buddies, I felt an overwhelming sense of contentment and achievement. Modern life can seem complicated, challenging and often downright unjust and 2018 has had its fair share of trials and hardship but when I’m riding with my BCC friends, all is well with the world and I’m in my happy place. Wishing each and every one of you a happy, successful and rewarding 2019. Here’s to loads more fun rides together.
Thanks Sarah Alexander for words and pictures