Cycling is more than just riding a bike. Of course, millions ride here and there and never give a thought to being a “cyclist”, but they are. And then there are those who try too hard by making sure that they conform with the correct gear and kit – cycling is now high fashion. But in between there are the riders. These are people that ride bikes for the pure pleasure and freedom of being able to go anywhere under their own power.
This group of riders, cyclist, is made up of children to great grandparents, tourist, mountain bikers, commuters, road racers, testers, CXs and more. There are no restrictions or exclusions: fit, slow, fat, fast, old young, wealthy, poor. We just ride. For some, there is an added pleasure and that might be in the equipment, the route, the planning, maybe the weather or the sights, the technical skills or, for me, the wonder of the engine.
I write this as it felt so good on Sunday to have combined so many of those aspects of riding and then to meet so many diverse characters all of whom shared the same passion. These were some of our local cycling community. On top of that the weather was truly sublime. Nothing beats the autumn with the surprises and wonders that it offers.
We headed out early to get in some technical mountain bike trails and then to headed off to Stan’s Bike Shack for free coffee and cakes courtesy of West Sussex Weekends campaign. You should have been there! There were lots of cyclists, Bikeability trainers, Police, Downs Link Ranger and WSCC staff. The West Sussex Weekends campaign is an attempt by West Sussex County Council to try to generate income by attracting visitors to the county and they have highlighted cycling as the vehicle (excuse the pun) in which to do this. The idea is to get hordes of wealthy Londoners to come down and ride in West Sussex and then stay a while and deposit some cash with local businesses.
For years now I have enjoyed the local sites and continue to see them as a tourist. That is
one reason why I find the cycling, and road cycling in particular, so fascinating. Some of the roads, hamlets, buildings, trails and views in West Sussex are truly stunning, worth coming down for. So the campaign makes perfect sense as the county’s greatest asset is its beauty. They wouldn’t have made it a national park if it wasn’t special!
I wish West Sussex luck and I offer them my support. Who knows, if the campaign is a success it may prompt the car loving councillors of West Sussex County Council to do something to benefit the local cycling community; and that is you and me and even more importantly our children and children’s children. We live in hope.
Here’s the ride. Stunning weather, hot sun, heavy dew, cool morning mist and a nice road/off road route to Stan’s. Good for beginners if you miss out the technical bit and take it easy on the Wiston Bostal.
Bike: Scott Scale 900 SL