Joining a cycling club is the best thing you can do in 2014

December 31, 2013

London Dynamo celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2013. We had a big dinner at Smollensky’s, took advantage of the free bar, and watched a short film about the club which was put together by the inestimable Stuart Spies. I have included it at the top of this blogpost for your enjoyment. Also, if you spot two photographs of me, then you could win a special prize! (Although I doubt it, because I’m not handing out any prizes. But you’re already a winner, aren’t you, because you’ve chosen to read this blog. Yes, you are. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.)

Apart from giving The DYNAMITE! Files a sizable plug, what I like about Stuey’s film is that it captures the larky enthusiasm and love of speed that have made Dynamo such an enjoyable club to be a part of. We didn’t set out to be bigger than clubs that have been around for generations – it just sort of happened. Part of the reason is that we are the only club to have a year-round ride in Richmond Park, and with so many unaffiliated riders sharing the seven-mile loop on Saturday mornings, our Parkride has become an advert for Dynamo and a means of attracting new members. Another reason is the pleasing look of the jersey, designed by founding member Russell Short. But the main reason for the success of London Dynamo is that the barmy blue-and-black army is whatever you want it to be. It’s a racing club. It’s a series of social events, both on and off the bike. It’s a means of testing your fitness and your abilities against others. It’s for the fastest, the slowest and everything in between. It’s a living, breathing internet: networks of friends – actual real-life friends – who support, listen, ride together and often rib each other. And it amazes me that we arrived at this wonderful state of affairs with barely any planning whatsoever.

Of course, you don’t have to join Dynamo. You might not live in London, and if you do, there are plenty of other large clubs around. But joining one extends your horizons: you have a pool of advice, information and ideas to draw upon, and you could try out another discipline such as track racing or mountain biking.

Ultimately, though, it’s the value-for-money argument that should clinch it for you. In the ever-costly world of cycling, what can you get for £40 these days? For that price, I can get access to an organisation that hosts four weekly rides, provides spin classes and core conditioning classes during the winter, and takes the hassle out of putting together a trip abroad for a sportive. Alternatively, for a similar price, you could buy a cycling podcast (that’s two people giving their opinions on news items you’ve probably already read), purchase a lavish book of photographs about last year’s Tour de France (that apparently has only one picture of the winner), or get yourself a large saddlebag (which you really shouldn’t need because, y’know, your jersey has these things called pockets). I know which one I’ll choose.

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