Met a cyclist at the golf club and started chatting. Margaret, a member of the Uxbridge Loiterers, a social cycling group from West London, was on her regular mid-week ride and was having a ‘puffing’ break.
Invited me to join them next week for a short ride – less than 25 miles at a leisurely pace from 10am to 4pm with stops along the way. Trails are different every week and every season. Usually to farms, villages, lakes and plains.
Sounds tempting, especially when their club ethos is to cycle at the pace of the slower rider, so everyone is able to enjoy the ride. It’s been a long time since I went for a group ride.
Everyone in my old cycling group has gone different ways. We met once a few years ago and challenged each other to ride again but all we did was drink a few more bottles and went home drunk.
I miss those days. I miss the guys who took turns to slow down for me, being the last of the pack while the rest were way ahead in the distant like ants crawling up a hill. My old faithful bike that I took on dirt tracks through plantations and kampongs in sweltering tropical heat was stolen and I’ve never been able to replace it since.
Every time I meet cyclists or see a bicycle, the old yearning comes back. Perhaps it’s time to ride again. Not like the crazy brain-frying-in-the-sun type of rides but more like what the Uxbridge folks are doing.
Didn’t realize cycling is big here with a national governing body that promotes the sport and protects the rights of all cyclists. There are 1,500 cycling clubs in Britain, each with its own focus from cycle speedways and road racing to family and old guys ride. Just last weekend, much of central London was closed to traffic for the annual cycling event as 50,000 cyclists took part in the 100-mile race. Well, that’s not my kind of thing but I get a good feeling about cycling here.
My next visit here must have cycling on the agenda. Imagine cycling in air-con weather exploring the English countryside, stopping for tea and scones, and resting under a big elm tree overlooking the meadows. Such sweet bliss.