Straight on at roundabout


Stevenage – the gateway drug…
October 25, 2009, 8:54 pm
Filed under: Rambling nonsense, Rides
The start in 2005 - that's me on the left

The start in 2005 - that's me on the left

I’ve been helping out with the Stevenage End of Summertime ride today.  100K across Hertfordshire, Essex and Cambridgeshire.

It’s possibly one of the biggest events organised in the AUK calendar – 297 riders left the start this morning.  And it attracts all shapes and sizes of riders.  I saw everything ranging from a gang of triathletes, through to a recumbent and a couple of shopper bikes.

I’m really fond of this event because it was the first event that I ever did.  It’s audaxing’s equivalent of a gateway drug.  You start small and the next thing you know…you’ve done an SR series>

I turned up on my hybrid bike and stood outside the lakeside café where it starts thinking ‘Oh my God!  Who are these people????”.

I’m not joking about the proliferation of beards or ancient pannier packs (although there was a plenty of material to work from…).   It was simply just the first time I’d ever come across large numbers of regular cyclists in one place.

But the best thing of all was that I ended up chatting to three complete strangers over the course of the day.  Nice friendly people who encouraged me to think that 100K really is possible!

And the thing that got me then (and impressed me again today) was how it all works.

Nearly 300 people turn up, pay a few quid, get a route sheet, visit controls which are staffed by volunteers and get home in one piece.  No one gets paid, the local CTC gets a bit of extra funding and everyone has a nice day out.  Even the Women’s Institute gets in on the act – catering at one of the controls.

It’s Britain at its best.

Liam

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