On a recent club Saturday café ride I asked, new members in particular, if someone would like to write a blog about their first club ride, the idea being to try and inspire others to give club rides a go as we know many new, or would-be members, can find the idea somewhat intimidating. Step forward new member Sam Wootton, who’s written this very frank and inspirational blog on his first ride and how he’s since progressed.
My first ride with the Stars
Back in April, which seems like a long time ago now, I went out on my first ride with the Banbury Stars. Now I originally contacted the club in March saying I was looking at joining and I remember emailing them this and receiving a reply that I was more than welcome to come and join them anytime on their Saturday café ride so I could find my legs again.
It was six weeks later that I finally plucked up the nerve to email back and say I would like to come and have a go. Prior to this I had been struggling for four months to cope with things mentally, anxiety and depression. I had a breakdown for all the right reasons. So that was then and this is now April, my first time out with the Stars. We meet at Broadribb Cycles at 09:45, but I was there early at 09:30 and as there were a couple of people in the shop with club kit on I introduced myself. They were very pleasant and explained the ride leader would be there in a few minutes. We had a chat and discussed things like emergency contact information while we waited until 09:45 for rest of the group to turn up. We then did the bike check, by which time we only had to wait about 5 minutes before the ride. Well I could feel my nerves begin to go, my hands were getting warm and beginning to sweat and I could have left at that moment.
Sam at the Broughton Castle Sportive
However, I’m so glad and proud of myself that I didn’t and did take up this chance. Our ride was out to Epwell and even though it was hilly and I was facing my fear of riding in a group, I thoroughly enjoyed it and now in July I haven’t missed a weekend out with the Stars. I realise now they have all been there themselves, everyone has to start somewhere and I started with the Banbury Stars. I’m now so proud to be a part of the club whose members inspire great confidence within one another and I have achieved so much in such a short period of time.
I ride at an intermediate pace and have even attended a couple of time trails. I’m certainly not the fastest of riders, but I just enjoy the challenge of challenging myself, which would have never been possible on my own. For all the people that don’t believe they can do it, I believe you can and I’m sure the club will believe in you. I look forward to riding with current members and riding with people that will give it a go to see what great things they can achieve within the company of great people and a great club.
Proud Banbury Star Member Sam Wootton