Extend Your Limits
Extend Your Limits
(an extended version of the Touring Column ~ Cycle Magazine ~ Dec 2010 / Jan 2011)
In the column this month I address the silent majority of CTC members, whose cycling activities we know nothing about. Technology now allows us to set up online surveys in moments but, as with probably every survey ever undertaken, the response level is pretty low,
although the statisticians say that a small number of responses still gives you a ‘statistically significant’ result. So let’s take, for example, the last all-embracing CTC member survey where, out of a membership of around 65,000, just 2044 responses were received. Of these, 134 members go on cycling holidays, 86 go on weekend tours and 131 go on short day leisure rides (and they may well be the same people ticking all three boxes!) I find this a somewhat amazing statistic for a cycling club. So when I say I am addressing that great silent majority, you’ll see where I’m coming from. And what I want to say is this: we’ve arrived again at that time of year when cycling is somewhat less pleasant than sitting by the fire and planning your next year’s cycling trips. Now if you’ve never planned a cycling trip, why not make 2011 the year you give it a try? If you’ve never indulged in cycle travel for the sake of it, then plan now to set aside a day, a weekend or, heaven forbid, even a week to try something new and different! Make it your New Year resolution!
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I recently spent a very agreeable hour with Jim Sayer, Chief Exec. of our US cousin, the Adventure Cycling Association (www.adventurecycling.org). I’m sure Jim won’t mind me sharing a couple of his ideas, because they rang bells with me and might with you too. There has been talk over recent years that the words ‘cycle touring’ have become a bit tired, a bit old hat. He wants people to alter their perspective on cycle touring by thinking of it as cycle travel. There’s no difference but if we can persuade just a few people, who perhaps only commute by bike or ride sportives, then this idea will not be wasted. So whatever you prefer to call it, if you’ve never indulged in a little two wheeled exploration, maybe that time should now come to be. Hear this: there never has been a better way or a better speed at which to enjoy a new place than from the seat of a bike. Even if you have no interest in nature, the landscape, architecture, thatched cottages, then perhaps the idea of enjoying the company of one, or several, like-minded individuals, not round a dinner table, but in the fresh air, might appeal. Then again, if you enjoy doing your own thing without the hassle of trying to organise others to do something together, instead of waiting until Monday morning to get on your bike to cycle to work or get some shopping in, how about digging out a map, identifying a place you’ve never been to and riding there (even if you need the car for part of the journey). I’m putting my head on the line here, but I guarantee you’ll probably enjoy the experience. To those people who have already discovered this joy, apologies for boring you with the above but it’s necessary sometimes in order to try and get more people to try out what we know and love doing.
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Perhaps you’ve already dipped your toe in this; maybe you’re one of the 131 people from the survey who go on short day leisure rides. Fantastic! Isn’t it a great activity? To you I say, how about making it a new year resolution to go just that little bit further, so you can extend the pleasure? If you like an afternoon ride, extend it to a day and enjoy a good pub lunch in the middle. If you already do days, then how about staying overnight somewhere and returning to your starting point by a different route. If you’ve done a weekend, try a week away! Und so weiter.. The possibilities are endless and of course, CTC is available to help with ideas and suggestions if you need them.
If you have any stories about your experiences of extending your riding and would like to share them, please get in touch and we can pop them up on the blog. Remember, everyone had a ‘very first ride’; how exciting would it be to hear about some of them!
Mark WatersGuildford 26/11/2010 00 44 (0)1483 414307 firstname.lastname@example.org