Send us news, start your message Cheshire News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Why cycling with a club is good
THE Guardian’s Pedal Power campaign is all about encouraging the people of Northwich out on their bikes.
We want to highlight different types of cycling, from racing, mountain biking or BMX stunts to commuting, popping to the shops or riding around the block.
We also want to showcase the opportunities available in the area to help readers get involved.
One of the best places to go for advice and inspiration is a local cycling club so this week we want to introduce our official Pedal Power Club – Northwich’s own Weaver Valley Cycling Club.
THE thought of joining a cycling club may seem a little intimidating at first.
As a fairly new cyclist you imagine a tightknit group of lycra-clad experts, talking in jargon and eating up the miles on a Sunday morning, hiding a wry smile if you’ve not got the right bike or the best kit.
Now I’ve not been out with Weaver Valley Cycling Club yet but I have met members on numerous occasions during the course of the Pedal Power campaign, and they have proved to be a smashing bunch – very friendly, welcoming and helpful.
They know I’m a novice but have been determined to get me on a Sunday run with them for months.
They pride themselves on catering for a wide range of cyclists, with sections for leisure and competative cyclists and not just road bikes but mountain bikes, cyclo-cross and track racing too.
And they are more than keen to welcome newcomers, to the extent that they have a ride planned for novice cyclists this Sunday, March 24, from Hartford to Nantwich.
This is billed as a short run of 40 miles and, most importantly, flat, so I’m in!
Ann Gregory, membership secretary for the club, said: “We welcome people to come along and have a few rides with us to see if they like it and then decide whether to join.
“Our runs captain, Alan Silver, does a great job in making sure new people are catered for.”
She said there were plenty of benefits to riding as part of a club.
“It’s the companionship because everybody is of the same mind,” she said.
“And riders gee each other on to enter races and things like that.
“With the traffic there’s also safety in numbers and there’s enough people on a run to help if you get a puncture.
“If you’re sat in the middle of the group you get dragged along quite nicely with them too.”
Weaver Valley Cycling Club, which currently has more than 130 members, was formed in 1962 by then ICI apprentice John Horsfield, who teamed up with fellow Northwich cyclists Jack Gee and Allan Littlemore and established the club with help from ICI.
John, who now lives in Melbourne, in Australia, said: “I was cycling before the club started because I used to cycle with a Manchester club, which was a long way to go on a Sunday morning and then cycle home again at night.
“So I got talking to people like Jack Gee, ICI got involved and we started meeting in a hall at Northwich Youth Club 51 years ago, and it all started from there really.
“I went to New Zealand in 1967 so was only in the club for five years, you would think it was 15 or 20 but it was only five – they were very very good times, they really were.”
The 68-year-old said sharing a common interest was one of the most important parts of being in a cycling club.
“You get to know people and widen your circle of friends with a common interest,” he said.
“Travelling by yourself is fine but it’s not quite the same as having someone cycling alongside you.
“And there’s always people there who will look after you and make sure you get home safe.”
For more information about Weaver Valley Cycling Club visit weavervalleycc.org.uk.
• The short run to Nantwich, designed to encourage new riders, leaves Hartford Social Club at 10am on Sunday, March 24. All are welcome and there will be a cafe stop to refuel.