As I’m in training to ride to Paris in 24 hours, I have been looking for opportunities to ride more and this search lead me to the Reading branch of the CTC, and from there, to Audax UK. Reading CTC is a social riding group which particularly appeals to me because the focus of their rides is not ultra fast speeds. They run a lot of rides and have three groupings of pace – from 8 – 10mph, from 10 – 12mph, and then 12 – 14mph. They stick to the advertised pace, according to a friend, so I can go along with comfort that I will not be outpaced. Haven’t ridden out with them yet, thanks to the British weather, but I have my first ride with them diarised for next Sunday – a 55 mile jaunt with a stop for coffee and cake included!
Audax UK is “The Long Distance Cycling Association” and I’m very excited about being a new member. The emphasis is on the distance and not speed, which suits me fine since I don’t have a problem with long distances but am still working on speed. There are a number of arranged rides, run by volunteers at a minimal cost, ranging from 50km to 1000km+ You hold a Brevet card which you get stamped/marked at various points around the course to prove you were there, and there is a time limit to complete the ride, but it’s very generous and there is also a minimum time requirement to ensure you don’t race. Maximum permissable speed is 30kph. I should be so lucky but good to know the focus isn’t on speed. The routes are not signposted, but you get a printed routecard that gives directions. It seems, on the surface, to be a very down to earth organisation that focusses on the joy of exploring on two wheels. I’ve been increasingly enjoying my cycling in recent times and now I’m a member of Audax UK I’m really looking forward to joining some of their rides.
Cycling is a time consuming activity so I don’t know how many of these rides I will fit in, but as I’m working towards riding 220 miles in 24 hours I guess I should get a few longer rides under my belt. I thought posting the list of ones I’m interested here might help me be a little more accountable to actually make them. It’ll be fun to see how many I manage to do!
- 10th January – Watership Down – 100km – MY FIRST METRIC CENTURY!
- 16th January – The Willy Warmer – 200km – MY FIRST IMPERIAL CENTURY!
- 20th February – Chiltern Grit 100 / 200km
- 5th March – Kennet Valley – 100 / 200km
- 13th March – London to Oxford to London – 200km
- 8th May – Uffington White Horse – 107km
- 22nd May – Brighton Rock – 109km
Total kms: 1116
I got a copy of the Audax UK magazine, Arrivee, yesterday and my son was inspired by an article about a 6 year old doing a 50km ride. I was so happy when he asked if we could do the same ride in 2016 – so now that’s 2 of us in training! By September 2016, a 50km ride will be very short for me, but nothing will make me prouder than to cycle this with my son!
Audax UK do other motivating schemes such as Mile Eater program. For a few quid you get a diary to enter your yearly mileage into. I find small things like that really motivating, although I’m unlikely to ever cover the 12000 miles that the winners do!
Back at the beginning of this journey, The Trainer suggested I could spend my time entering a load of sportives. I just wasn’t ready, didn’t have the self-belief nor confidence. Having got a few done now I’m really excited for 2016 to be the year of the bike!