I don't know anyone who doesn't like cycling. They might not have been on a bike for a while. Maybe they don't even own a bike. But generally speaking most people enjoy going for a bike ride, whether it be a gentle spin along the seafront cycle path or over the hills and far away. Cycling has always been an interest of mine, initially as a way of keeping fit, but over the past 5 years it's become much more than that. Indeed you can say cycling - and along the way bikebritain - have become an integral part of my life.
As a youngster I was always on my bike. I remember my first bike (front brake), my second bike (front and rear brake), third bike (brand new, blue, Sturmey Archer 3 speed) and finally the big time - a Raleigh Arena 5 speed racer. I had made it! Over the years my bike became my primary mode of transport, regardless of a full driving licence because it was simply more cost effective to be on two wheels rather than four! During my twenties my love affair with cycling dwindled to the occasional ride on my Mountain Bike. It sat in my hallway for a few years, used mainly as a glorified (if not oily) clothes hanger until a friend of mine suggested we should go to Mallorca and cycle up some proper hills. We hired road bikes in Soller. The scene was set.
A couple of months later, in April 2008, I bought my Specialized Allez Elite. 2 more bikes and a pair of Zipp 404s later and the rest, they say, is history.
Since then I've been mainly cycling around the roads of East and West Sussex as well as making the odd trip back to Mallorca and on a couple of occasions participating in the greatest organised bike tour in America - Cycle Oregon. I've ridden that tour twice now, in 2008 and 2011 and both times it was just fantastic fun. I'm only sad I won't be riding it this year on it's 25th anniversary.So what of bikebritain?
The original concept of bikebritain was a 7 day cycle tour around border country in the North of England and South of Scotland. It was to follow a similar format of Cycle Oregon, where we would move camp 7 times to a new location each day, supported by the Territorial Army amongst others. Myself and fellow bikebritain director Nick launched the bikebritain experience but in the end it was a hill too far. In retrospect a lack of experience and start up funding meant this was a logistical challenge beyond us. We learned a lot during the journey though. Nick and I went our separate ways, though we remain friends. With that, the focus of bikebritain changed. However, believing there will be another opportunity to organise the bikebritain tour, I have continued to build the bikebritain brand.
One key element of bikebritain was it's charity commitment. The intention was to donate to local charities after the first tour to help support the communities we had stayed in. The charity component remains important to me today. Last year bikebritain sponsored a man who cycled the length of Britain on behalf of Action Medical Research. bikebritain also entered a team in RIDE24, a sponsored charity race around Goodwood motor circuit. We're doing this again this year (in June) but with the aim of entering two teams this time.
bikebritain.org is a website dedicated to all things cycling related, from news, views and comment through to product reviews and accounts of heroic (and often quite slow) climbs of the hills around Britain. It's written by someone who loves cycling, the feeling of the wind in his hair (or through the helmet) and with it the freedom only a bike can offer. bikebritain.org also features articles written by guest writers who provide their insight into the joy of cycling. I hope you enjoy the content and if you have any feedback, please feel free to contact me.
That's all. I'm off for a bike ride.
I am Jonathan.
And I am bikebritain.