People power – Riding the Ronde.

Yesterday I was reminded by fellow blogger Alistair – the words and the lens behind Cardiff Cycle Chic – that people are the most important thing in cycling. How true that is.

Last weekend I did the Ronde De Oost Lancashire, a 50 mile or so celebration of Lancashire hills and cobbles. It’s organised by fellow Here Come The Belgians team mate Alan Dorrington and despite marking the course from start to finish, producing route directions, publicising and doing all the things that event organisers do, he doesn’t take a penny in return. Sports Sunday, a small sports photography company set up and maintain a  feed station prior to the last climbs over Widdup to Colne. Fruit gums, flapjacks, water, walnut and coffee cake, malted loaf, bananas and pies (yes, pies) are all presented before hungry riders for the princely sum of……nothing. The day was reasonably clement, but Sports Sunday would have been stood there, come what may, stoically feeding the needy. Riding around the course, I enjoyed the company of Alan, Rich (Allen), Jason Myles, Phil Simcock and a number of other riders whose name I never caught, names lost in the fevered chat and on oxygen starved hill climbs.

It’s the second time I’ve made the 460 mile round trip from Cardiff and I’ll be back again next year.  “460 miles!” I hear you cry. “Why?”. That’s easy to answer. Firstly it sits at precisely the mid-point between the last and the next, three peaks cyclo-cross. Secondly, it’s got lots of cobbles in it, which appeals to my far removed Belgian genes and masochistic streak (apparently my surname is of Walloon extraction). Thirdly it’s free, if you’re turning a very blind eye to extortionate fuel and motorway coffee costs. Finally –and most importantly – I get a chance to see my in-laws in neighbouring Settle, my HCTB team mates from the North of England, meet like-minded cycling fanatics and be part of a community orientated cycling event. I don’t think it’s pushing it too far to suggest that it restores your faith in human nature (or cyclists, at least). As Alistair rightly points out; it’s the people who make cycling.

I'm plainly enjoying the climb from Hebbdon Bridge to Heptonstall. Picture by Sports Sunday - talented photographers, philanthropists and true gents.

Many thanks to Alan Dorrington (Crossjunkie) for organising the Ronde Van Oost Lancashire. It’ll be back next year.


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