Going all the way

Here's a step-by-step guide to becoming a total obsessive in a cycling club. I originally wrote this whilst an active member of the UEA Cycling Club, now defunct.

  1. Sign up as a member
    You've got the right idea: you realise that cycling's a great way to get fit, you're checking out the Club's web pages to see what's on offer, and reckon that it's a GOOD THING.
    The sky's the limit...
  2. Come out for steady rides in the lanes of Norfolk.
    Norfolk has lower-than-average rainfall. Unfortunately, most of the rain falls during the Club's Sunday ride.
  3. Take part in organised on-road and off-road audaxes.
    For a small entry fee you find yourself riding with loads of other enthusiasts, all keen on having a fun day's twiddling in the countryside.
  4. Dip your toe in local competitions.
    You've decided that it's time for a stab at fame. Or you want a better measure of your fitness. Either way, you get an official time on an official course.
  5. You've been to a few trials, and have noticed the tricks some of the faster riders get up to. You decide that these are worth a try, and out come the spanners and wrenches...
  6. Take part in the BUSA Championships.
    Well, if you're going to do it, you'd might as well to it for your University, right? Right! What it amounts to is an expenses-paid trip to some far-flung part of the country, for a bit of friendly competition with other students.
  7. Win a medal in the BUSA Championships!
    OK, so the other students weren't quite as rapid as you'd imagined... a free trip in a minibus and a bit of hard work has ended up with you winning a tough-looking BUSA medal. If you weren't sure before, this has definitely turned out to be a great lark!
  8. Get yourself onto the Club Committee.
    You've been getting more and more involved with Club activities, until it reaches a point when you get nominated for a Committee post. Not the most glamorous position in the world, but you suddenly find yourself able to make your mark. Well, that's the theory, anyway...
  9. Start splashing out on flash equipment.
    Hey, this is getting serious! If people like Michael Hutchinson (Cambridge Uni) and Nic Hutchings (Bath Uni) have carbon fibre and disc wheels, why don't you?
    You also start to change... the hairs get swiped from your legs, and you get these funny tan lines where you'd least expect.
  10. Realise that flash equipment makes bugger all difference to your performance, and resign it all to a dark corner of the cellar.
    Okay, you've picked up some useful ideas along the way, but discover that a fast bike needs a fast rider. Training is a must, and complex carbohydrates are the order of the day. Soon you'll be needing a coach...
This is what you need to become a fully-fledged obsessive.
Compiled (but not adhered to) by John Swindells.


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About the author

My name is John Swindells and I'm a keen recreational cyclist with a preference for long one-day rides. I've also previously dabbled in time trialling and cyclo-cross. See more of what I get up to on Strava!