The real Heroes of British Cycling?

Discussion in 'Pro Cycling (Road and Track Racing)' started by Fab Foodie, 22 Jul 2012.

  1. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    Today should be a historic day for British Cycling, certainly one I never dreamed possible even a few years ago. Thanks to The Lottery, British Cycling, Boardman, Brailsford and his team, C4 for daring to televise, Team Sky et al. It's a truly spectacular rags to riches story and all involved deserve the plaudits they'll recieve.

    But, spare a moment also for the unsung heroes of the day, those that run and participate in our local cycle-clubs. People, enthusiasts volunteers that have kept the sport of cycling alive in the UK for countless years, the helpers at the early Sunday morning time trial, the club runs, the circuit races, Herne hill etc, marshalls for local races and Audaxes. These have long been the bedrock and torch bearers of cycling in this country, a sport seemingly almost clandestine in it's lack of profile.

    I was reminded of this during a cafe-stop on a Sunday Club run talking to Mattc and Phil Dyson where we were discussing the state of cycling clubs. It's seems to me that in road-biking at least there is a mood change. The rise of the pay-and-play 'Mamil Sportive' is changing the natutre of cycling and cyclist. Whereas clubs by their nature provided sport with a sense of community, members helped to make it work and people took turns to repay the club by volunteering on events etc. Sportives do not require such an attitude for people to ride as long as they have the cash, the rest is sorted.
    Whilst cycling is growing faster than ever, I wonder if clubs will benefit againstthe quick bang for your buck of the Sportive world favoured by the newbies? I hope they do, for they too have given us todays winners, they've provided people with support on a road to success. So love your local club. They're not perfect, but they need you to help them.

    So spare a thought for all the Clubmen of this country, who never dreamed of this day while Bradders dons his Yellow.
  2. Dave 123

    Dave 123 Guru

    It's like any sport, the stars are the stars. The good thing about all this is that it may inspire a few more people to get off their arses, the LBS may shift a few more units.
    Brad is Brad, but the weekend warriors are just as valid!
  3. yello

    yello Legendary Member

    A French desert
    I'd not considered that perspective before. Thanks FF.

    And an open thank you to all those involved in clubs for keeping it all going. Unsung heroes indeed.
  4. Herbie

    Herbie Veteran

    Well said.
  5. smutchin

    smutchin Cat 6 Racer

    The Red Enclave
    Yeah, I've got nothing against sportives and I don't want to see yet another sportive-bashing thread but club cycling is the heart and soul of the sport.

    I only wish I'd known such a thing existed when I was a teen - I would have loved it - but it never occurred to me that you could do this cycling lark as a proper sport. It was all cricket and ruby and running and jumping at my school. Bike racing was what those funny foreigners did, with a few exceptions like Robert Millar, but then he always was a bit odd...

    Anyway, all I'm saying is that if young people want to emulate Brad, hopefully they'll look at where he started - helps that there are lots of pics doing the rounds at the moment of him as a teen at Herne Hill - and they'll join a proper cycling club.

  6. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    I fully agree.

    It's where you learn to ride in a disciplined manner, in close formation in a group without causing mayhem. You only have to ride a sportive to see how many cowboys there are today, stopping in the road without warning, veering into the path of other riders without a glance over the shoulder to check if it's safe. Like you I don't want to be a sportive basher, but the standard of bike handling can be alarmingly poor and embarrassing.
    Mad Doug Biker likes this.
  7. OP
    Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    And this is sooo true, discipline in group riding was very quickly drilled into me when I joined a club and it's hugely important.
  8. Mad Doug Biker

    Mad Doug Biker Bikeoholics Anonymous

    Craggy Island
    I don't know why, but I just don't want to join my local club. I just want to go out there and cycle by myself where and when I want to go. I don't want to be stuck with a bunch of bike snobs* telling me that I should do this that and the other.

    As for bike handling though, I agree, I have seen some things out there which quite frankly irritates me.

    * - Actually, I came across one on the train one morning, presumably going to the club (the one in Clydebank) with his brand new white Boardman. I was out on the winter bike, and you could see him judging me for it, the twat. I decided not to mention that that was by far the worst bike I had as I didn't want to stoop to his level.
  9. lukesdad

    lukesdad Guest

    Clubs need to move with the times. Ours does but we have smart thinkers on the comittee
  10. Noodley

    Noodley Guest

    You not on the committee then? :laugh:
  11. theclaud

    theclaud It's teeceegawnmaaaad

    ^ I might regret "liking" that next time LD chooses the route for a South Wales CC ride...
    Noodley likes this.
  12. raindog

    raindog er.....

    Nice thread FF :smile:

    and I've just come across this quote of Bradley from yesterday which fits in well here
    "I come from a cycling family. I'll probably be there in 20 years time marshalling on the corner somewhere for a local '10'."
    Boris Bajic, Noodley and smutchin like this.
  13. alecstilleyedye

    alecstilleyedye nothing in moderation Moderator

    indeed. and wiggins paid tribute to that whole community with the reference to announcing the raffle in his victory speech…

    there are some excellent examples of the bedrock of british cycling at macc wheelers…

    it's why, to me, wiggins' victory is for all of us. those of us that put up with idiot comments before beijing made us fashionable…

    i just hope cycling doesn't become the new golf…
    Noodley likes this.
  14. smutchin

    smutchin Cat 6 Racer

    The Red Enclave
    Yeah, and I'm not racist but...

    Look, you may have a valid point but that's precisely the kind of thing I was avoiding saying. Please save it for another thread.

    ...and that's why you'll never win the Tour de France.

    Recreational cycling is your thing, sport cycling is what gets other people excited. They're equally valid forms of cycling.

    Remind me... who's the snob in this story?

    All kinds of cycling are great - even sportives have their place - but I thought the point of this thread was celebrating grass roots club cycling. Sure, it's not perfect, but without it, we still wouldn't have a British Tour de France winner.

    So come on, folks - how about three cheers for people giving up their Wednesday evening to stand at the side of a busy main road in the rain taking times in the local TT?

    deptfordmarmoset likes this.
  15. Mad Doug Biker

    Mad Doug Biker Bikeoholics Anonymous

    Craggy Island
    I'd probably be too old now anyway.


    Where he got off the train is a very peculiar place to be cycling in the first place. Maybe he wasn't going to the club just up the road, but it certainly would have been a bit of a coincidence!

    I agree, they will do a great job, I don't think anyone is denying that.
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