On Saturday I decided it was time to join up with a local cycling club.
This is my third year of cycling “properly” so have been thinking about a club for a little while. My regular cycling mates are suffering from knee, shoulder and collar bone injuries, so I’m faced with the prospect of long hours in the saddle on my own and while I love cycling, the social element is a big selling factor to me.
I’ve toyed with setting up a club for the village I live in but can’t really imagine where I’d find the time to coordinate it. Even a brief foray in to a little cycling group on Facebook was uncomfortable earlier in the year when lots of people joined but I didn’t want to take responsibility for leading a group out and making sure everyone was OK …. I just want to ride my bike in the few hours I get each weekend. So joining a club seems sensible. I’d like to build out the social elements of riding and incorporate the kids in to activities if possible too.
I’ve been looking in to this over the last week or so and Leicester Forest Cycling Club seem to be as local as any to me. They market themselves with the strap line of being the friendliest cycling club around and, as a cycling club virgin, that is exactly what I’m looking for.
A check on their website and I was able to see that they set off at 8.30 on a Saturday, which couldn’t be more perfect for me so I wrapped up against the elements and set off to a village called Desford to meet them. As usual, I didn’t leave myself enough time so it was hard work to get the the village (town?) centre when cycling in to a decent head wind, but by 8.30 I had cut my way through the damp and grey morning to get to the crossroads. I’d noted that the groups were setting off from a pub and recalled one that fitted the description (well, it had a car park) but when I arrived at the pub on the crossroads alarm bells began to ring… I as at The Blue Bell, but looking for the Bulls Head.
Feeling hopeful that I might still catch the “moderate” group (the fast group had discussed on Facebook about their plans to cover 140k at a 20mph average which is well out of my league) I set off around the village to find this other pub. After several u-turns and confused moments, the time came when I had to chuck in the towel because it was 8.45, I couldn’t find the groups starting point and didn’t know their route. No cycling club for me!
Heading back home (my enthusiasm was well and truly drained) I cruised up to some traffic lights as the penny finally dropped. Desford crossroads is a crossing on the A47 (or A447) and not actually in Desford. When the lights turned green, I could see a pub on the right hand side of the road and new instantly that it was the place where the cyclists would have met up. Of course Leicester Forest Cycling Club was long gone so it was with heavy legs that I miserably pottered home realising that I’d have been around in plenty of time if I’d have just looked at the map on the clubs website!
Maybe next week.