Last night I got back on the Tuesday Thrash. Bliss! However, three weeks off really made a difference, I still had the strength (just) but lacked the speed. It was one of those rides where I felt they were all ganging up on me. Here’s the ride.
But cycling is not all about suffering and speed.
Anyone can enjoy riding anyway that they want. All that you need is a bike. Last Sunday we went to the Southampton GoSky Ride where around 8,000 people of all ages enjoyed riding around closed roads. There was a festival atmosphere with music playing in the parks and children running or riding everywhere. British Cycling was there along with Breeze, Sky Pro Cycling and their Watt Bike Challenge and the nation’s biggest supplier of bikes. The City seemed to enjoy the happy effect that the closed roads had on it population.
We have to thank Sky for their involvement in cycling. In a country whose government seems to be making a point of doing nothing to promote cycling and with our county and local authorities not exactly endorsing cycling you would think that the nation doesn’t want to ride bikes. Nothing could be further from the truth. The nation is cycling mad. Even in Worthing! Our Borough Council has never, as far as I am aware, publicly announced that the town would be good to cycle in. But despite that Worthing residents want to ride. There is greater cycle usage in Worthing than any other town in the county. The last statistic that I saw showed that Worthing has three times the national average and rising. We are, in Worthing, potentially, living in a cycle heaven.
If you think that the last Tour de France in Britain in 2007 was big, just wait for the explosion next summer! There were around three million spectators lining the roads on the day that David Millar soloed to Canterbury. And this happened whilst the British Grand Prix and the Wimbledon final were both on. Next year, starting in Yorkshire where the 2014 Tour de France begins, the country may finally wake up to the fact we Brits are at least, if not more, passionate about cycling than the Belgiums, the Italians, the French and the Spanish.
Now we all have views on the Murdoch Dynasty but we have to thank it for its contribution to cycling. Through their funding we have the GoSky Rides. These are closed road rides for all the family and do families love them? We also have two Tour de France winners. We are currently the strongest sports cycling nation in the world, just look at the number of Olympic cycling medals that we have. Cynics may wonder at Sky’s motives. Well, they may want to get into the fabric of our society. Perhaps they aim to be as synonymous with British culture as Heinz Baked Beans, Kellogs Cornflakes and Coronation Street. It is interesting that they have chosen cycling as the means to their end. Maybe it is because everyone can do it, no barriers to entry! Now, if at some time in the future, when there are enough riders to cause changes in driving culture and road planning strategies, we are all subject to adverts on Sky TV then I consider that a small price to pay. You don’t have to watch TV now do you. You could be riding instead.