bikebritain Says March 20, 2011

Saddle up and get ready for RIDE24!

Some weeks ago, I was invited to join ‘Team bikebritain’ for RIDE24 at the Goodwood Motor Circuit in June. I’d like to tell you I was delighted to accept but, in fact, I was struck by fear and panic and needed significant reassurance before finally accepting my fate.

You see, reader, bikebritain is not all hardcore cycling enthusiasts. There is a least one slightly-overweight-sometime-guest-writer who is more admirer than enthusiast and is palpably unsuited to endurance ‘anything’. Apart from perhaps drinking, or drinking whilst watching other people compete in a twenty-four hour charity cycling banjoree. 

My main concern was that ‘Team bikebritain’ would be three outstanding cyclists and me. Having been reassured that that definitely was the case but, honestly, it didn’t matter, I set about thinking of elaborate schemes to get myself out of it - gout, cyclophobia, big dog ate my bicycle - but then, in a moment of alarming stupidity, decided I might go for it after all.

After all, there are a number of benefits. Firstly, as regular readers of my solitary report on cycling in London will be aware, I am currently clanking around on a hybrid commuter bicycle, swearing at patrons of the Barclays cycle-hire scheme, and trying not to get killed. This, I am sure, will not cut it as part of a classy, professional team. And even if it did, this way I get to buy a new bicycle. The dilemma accompanying this, however, is how far do I go? A new bicycle is all very well, but if you want to look like you didn’t win it in a raffle, you need the kit. I’ll give you an idea where I am in the kit continuum at present; this morning, I nearly severed my own foot after getting the laces of my indoor football boot caught in the chain of my rusty hybrid on Marylebone Road. There is a flip-side, though. A man with a spanking new velocipede, resplendent with kit and accessories will be expected to cycle more like Chris Boardman, and less like Stan Boardman. This may be an issue.

Secondly, and this might to an extent address the problem, I have the time and opportunity to partially bridge the gap between Stan and Chris. I start a new job at the end of the month which affords me a fifteen mile daily commute traversing one of Boris’ cycle-superhighways. However, there is an appreciable difference between the smooth curves of the Goodwood track and weaving between buses and potholes, pausing every hundred yards or so for traffic lights and to release a stream of invective at the latest aspirant to try and remove your vital organs with their wing-mirror. But it will do for a start.

In summary, then, I need to invest in a new steed, the kit and accessories to augment such a purchase, and then get fit enough not to get found out the first time I take to the track. Preferably to not be found out at all, but we have to be realistic. My expectations are further tempered by the accompanying picture on the website. Perhaps the wheezing idiot astride the cycling equivalent of an anvil is just out of shot. I’m slightly comforted by the fact that it is described as ‘thigh-busting’. I mean, I am guaranteed to ‘bust’ almost every part of my body, so at least I can tick that box. Apparently, all I “have to do is ride, ride, ride and focus on becoming RIDE24 champions” which is fine, but I’d feel much more comforted if they replaced “becoming RIDE24 champions” with “not leaving in an ambulance”.

I’m now off to cycle home... at the moment this is about five-and-a-bit miles or, if you prefer, just over two laps of the Goodwood circuit, comfortably less than I might be expected to contribute over the course of twenty-four hours. Oh boy, there is a lot of work to be done. I’ll keep you updated as to how it goes.

Words by Lukey

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