From the vicar to the pub landlady: social cycling group gets whole village involved
Published 18 September 2013
It’s been a year since we last visited the Tour de Queniborough cycling group (pictured above). As one of the first groups to flourish using British Cycling’s social network, we were keen to catch up with the group’s creator, Stuart Watson, to find out what they’ve been up to in the last 12 months...
‘Things are starting to really work well now,’ Stuart (pictured below) told us. ‘Organising the rides on Social Cycling Groups has really helped us get more people involved. From the start it gave us a perfect place to shout about what we were doing.’ Thanks to the hard work of Stuart and his friends, the group now numbers over fifty people.
‘The vicar was out on his bike riding with us again last night, plus the pub landlady and the postman.’
What’s more, the group is appealing to a wide range of people – and definitely not all cycling regulars. ‘The whole village is getting involved,’ says Stuart. ‘It’s great to see a real mix of people form various professions and backgrounds joining in and riding together.’
‘The vicar was out on his bike riding with us again last night, plus the pub landlady and the postman. I’m still trying to get the butcher to have a spin with us, so then we’ll only need a baker and a candlestick maker to complete the set!’
And because the group’s rides are popular and trusted, people who might normally shy away are joining in too. ‘We have two regular riders with Down’s Syndrome who come along on tandems with their mums,’ Stuart explains. ‘They have no problem keeping up, and really enjoy chatting and riding in a group. To me it’s just one example of what makes getting a group together worthwhile.’
Tour de Queniborough has been running summer bike rides every Tuesday evening with a beginner and intermediate group riding between 10 and 30 miles. ‘These rides are a real leveller; everyone is doing something together for a change, with the common cause to keep fit and enjoy the local countryside.’
The group’s biggest ride this year was their ‘Richard III Ride’ in June, organised to raise funds for the village hall. ‘The route was 52 miles, the weather was very good and we had twenty riders split into two groups,’ remembers Stuart. ‘The village hall committee even put on tea and cakes for us on our return. It was so successful we’ll definitely be making it an annual event.’
Despite the people in the group cycling more often, with some investing in new road bikes and naturally getting fitter and faster, Stuart insists that the Tour De Queniborough cycling group remains a non-competitive social group. ‘It gives everyone in the village the chance to get out on small group rides, with no joining fees or weekly ride costs. All you need is your bike.’
Tour De Queniborough rides are organised and promoted through British Cycling’s Social Cycling Groups. It’s totally free and easy to use – perfect whether you’re planning your own group rides, or tracking your training rides.