First club ride for ages

Club TT Secretary Rhys Martin – after a long break from club rides – reminds us all why our weekend rides are such a good friendly experience.


Having not ridden a club ride in 15 months, a wet Saturday in October seemed a good place to start. Well, that and the fact the wife and kids were away gave me the perfect excuse.

Twelve months ago, I fell off my bike – no surprises there – at Oddington bike park showing my kids how to jump on a table top, and dislocated my collar bone, this was after falling into a bush on the previous club ride, and falling at a junction when I forgot to clip out when riding with friends. So, I was 3 from 3 on the falling front.

Feeling brave, I rode up to People’s Park and met my fellow Gentle Cafe Saturday riders who were all in good spirits. After the usual catching up with people I hadn’t seen for a while it was time to head off. The Inters gave us a wave and a cheer, we grouped up and headed up the road, before we even turned a corner, we heard a pop! Dave Tew had punctured quicker than it takes me to fall off!! I now know why we need a maintenance course as it took six riders 20 minutes to figure out how to change a tyre, but eventually we were off.

The ride was a lovely one, out to Epwell, around and back and in to Balscote for a lovely cup of coffee and a muffin. On the ride everyone was a Star, shouts to watch out for pot holes, encouragement and regular check-ups as we rode on the flat in formation, and a cheerful guide to keep me company at the back as I crawled up the slightest incline, not once was I made to feel like I was holding anyone up, or that I shouldn’t have been there. I was made to feel at home and welcome by members of a brilliant club.

Every rider we passed had a wave and a hello and the Inters and the Breeze riders we passed were full of smiles and cheery banter. Finally arriving at the coffee stop after our earlier puncture we walked in to a hero’s welcome and much advice on tyre changing skills. The ride back to Banbury went without any more punctures, but the same encouragement and looking after that got me through the rest of the ride in one piece.

I have to give a huge thanks and respect to John Tustian for his hard work in setting up the rides every week and doing such a good job of putting the groups together so well, ensuring that our competent ride leaders lead balanced, inclusive groups that everyone is made to feel so welcome joining. Thanks also to my group on the day – Andy, Anthony, Dave, Robin and Richard – for your encouragement and kindness on the ride.

And my final words have to be – see you next week as I’ll be back for more!