CTC Chief Executive's winter update
CTC Chief Executive's winter update
After a long working week of meetings and travelling I really treasure my weekends to clear my head and reconnect with friends. For the last five years or so I ride most Saturdays with a small group based around Horton Kirby in Kent. We all met in our local pub and discovered that we all rode a bike, some more regularly than others.
Before long we were a small group of riders going out for 30-40 miles always ending up in our country local with a few beers before home. It’s a simple formula with the most onerous issue being the task of controlling the whip for drinks! I suppose I am the most experienced rider in our group but the informality of our rides and the confidence it has brought people has meant that these occasional riders now use their bikes a lot more for work and play and I even managed to get a few to join CTC!
Our Saturday ride is at 1pm so I start my day with a Parkrun at 9am, a brilliant community event that takes place all over the UK. It’s a timed 5km run and attracts as many women as it does men and often the odd young parent running as they push buggies with the newborn often fast asleep the whole way! There’s also a good mix of under 18’s. However, it is very non-competitive and can become quite addictive!
The opening December run was a beautiful frosty morning but I could feel underfoot that some paths were slippery so I was surprised the chaps had decided to go out on the bike ride as usual later that day. Even though the temperature would rise to 5 degrees by 1pm I know the lanes well with many not getting any sunshine this time of year and remaining icy all day. I said I’d skip and join them in the pub for a beer afterwards and spent the afternoon faffing with my Scott mountain bike instead. I got to the pub early and was surprised to see the chaps firmly ensconced in their ale. Their ride had come to an abrupt end just 7 miles due to black ice on the lanes around Lullingstone near Sevenoaks. One went down followed almost immediately by two more. Rear derailleurs were broken and there were some splendid road rash scars worthy of any road race crash. Needless to say, last Saturday we were all enjoying the mud in Farningham Woods for some welcome off-roading.
So as winter begins, do make sure you assess the conditions you’re riding in and take reasonable precautions when you know there has been a ground frost. Even when we went off road last week, many had far too much air in their tyres (a common mistake) and couldn’t believe how much air I deflated from them and how much more responsive their bike was in the mud afterwards!
I know a lot of our members and supporters don’t ride as much in the winter as they’d like, but staying active even with some winter walks can help to stave off their Christmas calories. Part of my job at CTC is to be part of the Active Travel Consortium where we work to influence government to get Britain moving a bit more.
All I have to do is ask those nice people in the Department of Transport to give us £1m and we’ll show them how we can get 100,000 people back on their bikes!"
CTC Chief Executive
As CTC supporters we know the benefits that cycling brings us, but part of our role as a national charity is to get more people active on bikes and we’ve got some exciting plans to do this which I hope to tell you more about in the New Year. All I have to do is ask those nice people in the Department of Transport to give us £1m and we’ll show them how we can get 100,000 people back on their bikes! The cost benefits of doing so are of course multi-million. More about how I get on in my next blog.
In the meantime, I hope you get lots of nice cycling related goodies. I’ve asked Santa for some SKS mudguards. My son wanted some re-chargeable lights so I bought him membership of CTC instead as there’s a special offer of free Lezyne lights.