From cycling to work to taking on the Olympic road race circuit – Mike Waters tells us why he started cycling and how he began creating his own group bike rides.
Above: Mike Waters hits the road
Around four years ago I realised that I needed to start looking after myself a bit more, so I bought a bike and started cycling to work. I wanted a gentle reintroduction to exercise and cycling gave me just that, as well as saving me time and money. I soon found myself hooked on cycling and began riding at the weekends, steadily going further for longer.
After doing a fair few miles on my own I thought it would be nice to ride in a group, so I started looking for groups online and came across goskyride.com. I signed up for a couple of the free local bike rides which were great fun but sometimes a bit short in distance for me.
Just as I was running out of options, British Cycling launched a social network specifically designed for cyclists – Social Cycling Groups. This new network allows cyclists to go online, find new cycling buddies, chat in groups and even create your own rides. As I enjoyed the local rides from Croydon to Box Hill I decided to create my own and it soon became very popular. With the buddy option on Social Cycling Groups you can start to build a little network of like-minded riders from the local area. So after organising a few more rides I had some regulars and made some good cycling friends.
Once the Olympics had finished I thought it would be a great idea to arrange an Olympic road race ride around Box Hill. It turned out to be quite a long ride and a nice challenge to follow in the tracks of the Great Britain Cycling Team. At first I didn’t think this ride would get a big take-up, but it did and I ended up limiting the numbers. In the end I had 20 riders turn up and we started at 9.00am sharp, stopping for a break at Box Hill Café before making it back around 5.00pm. It was tough but everyone enjoyed themselves and had a great day riding together.
There seems to be a lot of riders out there like me, who are really into cycling and want to take part in some challenging rides. Social Cycling Groups has allowed me share my bike rides with other like-minded cyclists and it's been great fun right from the start.
Also worth a read on our cycling for fun website goskyride.com: