The club year tends to follow a cycle, sorry about the pun. Although we have regular runs on four days throughout the week and at weekends throughout the year, this pattern is enriched with particular events during the year where we join with other cyclists outside of our club on trips further afield. Check our Rides List for specific dates of “Awaydays”, and “Sportives”. There’s always something coming up; here’s an overall picture.
Is often chaotic because of the inclement weather and the enthusiasm of bike riders to “get out on the road and get the miles in.” It is the month of frustrated ambition but we get out when we can on road or trail. Modern kit allows us to ride even in poor conditions but we dream of the warm sun on our backs and of shedding those layers of bulky warm clothing.
The rides get a bit longer and the pace a bit more brisk and some of us participate in the first cyclosportive events and plan for more. If the Worlds Cyclo-cross championship is not too far away we may make a trip across the channel to watch that.
The cold is not too bad by now and the riding gets better week by week as the weather and fitness improve. We do seem to stay in the cafes a long time quite often waiting for the rain to pass. But each year the Spring flowers seem to come out earlier and earlier. Primroses in the hedges and road islands stuffed with daffodils raise the spirits.
This is the month of the Classic races in Belgium. We usually have a trip to Ghent to ride an event with the Belgian emergency services round the Scheldelandroute although the latest info suggests that may be rescheduled for May this year. We’ve been doing that trip for the last 20 years. Some of us also have a day out without the bikes to watch the Ghent-Wevelgem classic on the Kemmelberg. Several members take early season trips to Mallorca or main land Spain for a week or two of warm-weather cycling.
By now the sportive season is in full swing. Some have a week away in the South of France usually based in one or two places and going out from there each day.
We often make a train ride to Bristol and spend the next three days riding back to Reading along the Kennet & Avon canal path stopping overnight at Devizes and Newbury – all traffic free! Some members may attempt some of the major climbs in the Alps before it gets too hot. The off-road theme continues with the “Guildford – Brighton – Guildford”, a day out on mountain bikes with lunch in Brighton and a choice of methods of getting home!
On the 14th we run a Bastille Day ride around West Sussex with a pub lunch and since this is also Tour de France time some of our members cross to France to watch some of that and/or to have a week’s cycling holiday in St Ybard – what we call Trev’s week.
We usually have what we call an “Awayday” ride around Romney Marsh in Kent starting from Hythe and another on the Isle of Wight.
We promote the team time trial championship for the Surrey League and hopefully have a team competing in it. If the Worlds Road Championships are in Europe (and sometimes even if they’re not!) we may make a short break to watch them. Last year a group of us enjoyed a late-summer week riding on Lake Garda.
The sportive calendar ends for many of us at the Blenheim Park Festival in the Cotswolds. We’re often back for three days mountain biking on the Kennet & Avon canal or down in the New Forest, this time with warmer clothes and expecting mud! The riding around the Home Counties has been particularly good in recent years and riding in our Indian Summer feels like a bonus.
There is often another trip to Ghent to fit in some bike riding, eating and drinking together with watching the finish of the Ghent Six-day race at the Velodrome and a cyclo-cross at Koksijde. We do a bit more mountain biking on Saturdays in the winter and start a bit later.
Early in the month we have the AGM at the clubroom so there’s the chance for you to have your say about anything you would prefer changed. The regular 4 rides a week continue, of course, but are interspersed with social engagements and commitments. In recent years we’ve enjoyed a club lunch in Ewell just before Christmas. Then it’s gluttony for a few days before it all starts again – only better!