There was an interesting little exchange of tweets last week. A twitter user popped out a message to offer a corporate ride in my neck of the woods. ‘To accommodate the growing number of business people participating in cycling………etc. etc. etc.’ for a small fee, you can network, ‘talk bikes’, generate business, yada yada yada. A fellow cycle advocate, blogger (and incidentally, person working in business), indicated distaste. There was discussion of cycling as the new golf and in particular, ‘not why people ride bikes’. I agreed. Then after some reflection, it got me wondering to why I had agreed, particularly as I’d ridden with the team from Morgan Cole a few months ago. After all, that’s what its all about isn’t it? Riding bikes? And don’t I work in an area associated with cycling?
After a bit of soul searching (and some city riding, a short kayak on the Taff and a blast on my 29er over the Garth and Caerphilly mountain), I’ve come up with a little list of why I cycle.
- Being in the open air.
- Riding in company, but especially being out solo, leathered by the sun, lashed by rain, buffeted by wind and generally knocking myself about.
- As an opportunity for healthy competition (in an organised race or club environment, preferably one that involves mud, rocky bits, gravel and pavé).
- The utility of the bicycle and its inherent low cost practicality .
- Its healthier than a car.
- The history of the bicycle and the characters of cycling.
- The aesthetic of a human powered vehicle.
- Cycling as an expression of personal freedom.
- Being part of a culture that in its own contradictory way, encourages non-conformism by conforming to a more benign culture norm (“When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race” ~H.G. Wells)
I suspect that if you’ve got this far, you’re probably a little like me, agree at least in part, have a soft spot and empathy for cycling, and some (or all) of the following indicators apply:
love bikes, cycling, country lanes, deepening sunsets, bobbling over pave or bouncing down mountains, gliding around bends, riding serenely on cycle paths, riding manically downhill, sipping tea at the tea shop or coffee at the rural café (and particularly beer at the pub), stuffing your rear pocket with bananas or your musette with sandwiches, clearing your mind on the evening commute, catching up with your mates once the race ends or rolling slowly on the social ride, Know your Bobet from your Bartali and your cargo bike from cargo pants, you ride 12 months a year and if cycle racing is your thing, you see the tour as a showcase and not the start and end of the season.
if you found yourself nodding to a few of those elements, then you’d probably see a ride organised expressly for the purposes of exploiting a networking opportunity as the least alluring option for being out a bike. Still….a ride is a ride and like my fellow cycle blogger, I wish them good luck with it, but will pass on this occasion. You may of course be wondering about some potentially contradictory behaviour here. What about that Morgan Cole ride back in April? Well……it was hilly, wet, alternately warm/cold and I finished at Pencoed rugby club with soggy shorts and chilled fingers to the comfort of a warm cup of tea and some hob nobs. A superb and friendly day out. True to the spirit of cycling. I can’t remember discussing work at all.
I am available for corporate cycling days, providing firm guarantees are given not to discuss work, instead focusing on the loveliness of hills and catching our breath on the descent. Top image: My single speed rests in the frame of a doorway in the Loire.