There are lots of reasons that I can think of to join the Reservoir Cogs cycling club. Before I joined I also found quite a few reasons not to. The usual things… I don’t have time. I am too busy with the kids. I could never take that much time off to ride a bicycle. I wouldn’t be strong enough, fit enough, fast enough. I would make a fool of myself. I would look dreadful wearing all that skin hugging lycra. Yuck. The weather is not great in Ireland. It is too dangerous, sure I would be killed by a car. I don’t have a decent bike. I don’t know anyone, sure where would I even start. Bla Bla Bla and on it goes. But at the end of the day, sorry, but there are way too many reasons TO DO it.
For me it provided a couple of really important things:
- A sure fire way to control my weight. Was never that heavy but definitely a bit of spread was coming my way which just felt all wrong. Cycling has transformed my body shape, my cardio-vascular capacity and my general fitness…. and I mean transformed.
- A sure fire way of creating a bit of mental space, dare I say it, providing me with a bit of me-time in the midst of a way-too-busy lifestyle. With a bit of me-time under my belt I was just a nicer person when I came back to the realities of home and work!
- New friends. Now I wouldn’t say this to their faces but I ended up spending time with decent people from all kinds of backgrounds where the only thing we had in common was an interest in cycling and getting/keeping fit…. also the perpetual search for the best coffee within 100KM of Blessington.
So if they are not good enough reasons to take up cycling what are?
As to the fears, concerns and excuses I had before I joined some 5 or 6 years ago….
- Lycra rarely looks good on anyone (man or woman) and to be honest us cyclists don’t give a toss about how it looks as long as our backsides are protected, our bodies are dry and warm and drivers can see us. The rest is just noise. Now that is not to say we don’t try to make it look OK in terms of jazzy colours and flashy accessories… but for someone thinking about joining, don’t let the lycra put you off. Have a chat with one of us about the gear and we will put your mind to rest on that one.
- The bicycle. Ah yes, the key component. Look, when you are starting off any bike will do. Don’t go spending money. Dig out your old road bike and rock up to the club. As you get more used to the regular spins you will hear and pick up on everything you need to know about bikes. Carbon, aluminium, hybrids, cassettes and group sets, gearing, brakes, handlebars, wheels bla bla bla. The thing is, cyclists love to talk to other cyclists and would be cyclists about bikes and the best source of advice is again to talk to one of us. We love it! Don’t spend money until you talk to one of us.
- I would love to say we can make time go slower… and sometimes when we are climbing the Sally Gap it sure feels like time is going very slow, almost as slow as we are going… but look, this one you gotta figure out for yourself. We normally head out on Sunday mornings so I guess this has to be a conscious decision to make the time for yourself. But think how good you will feel afterwards and your partner, pet or friend will look at you in a whole new light after a few months of cycling activity.
- As to not being able to cycle! My first cycle was 6KMs. I cycled from my house to Valleymount. And I was wrecked. I got home, put the bike in the shed and just veg’ed for the rest of the day. That was how fit I was. 6 months later I did the Wicklow 200KM, albeit slowly. So the thing about cycling is this. Anyone can do it. Anyone. You always stay within your limits. It’s the Goldilocks concept. Not to slow, not too fast, just right. Start with 5KM…. then maybe 10KM… then set a goal to do 50KM in say 6 weeks. You will be amazed at how quickly you will develop the confidence and capacity to cycle. Another thing, you will be amazed at how your surroundings appear to change when you view them from a bike instead of say the car. Everything looks different. We cycle all year round. We cycle sometimes at night. And we get to see this wonderful county of ours from different kinds of perspectives and viewpoints. It is truly magical and more than a little humbling.
- As to how dangerous it is…. I guess there is an element of danger. But as a Reservoir Cogs club member there are a number of things we can do to alleviate this fear. Apart from developing your cycling distance capacity we will teach you how to cycle safely in a group. We also take groups on quieter routes which we have developed over the years to avoid traffic. We will show you the kind of gear you need to wear, the signals you need to use when with others and so on. There is an element of danger particularly in descending but that’s why brakes were invented and until you are comfortable, I guess you should pull them!
So what to do?
- Ring one of the club members or talk to someone in the club about cycling with the Cogs.
- We run beginner sessions and basic bike maintenance courses so get the latest info on these… cos you will get the odd puncture… another great reason to cycle with other club members… we have all had to change wheels and deal with mechanicals so you won’t be left on your own to figure it out, or dare I say it, make that call of shame to have someone pick you up. That’s a no no in our book. We go out together, we come home together.
- Come on out and share in the fun. We cater for all standards and none and would love to see new folk join our super club.
I assure you, regrets, you will have none!