If you know your cycling, you’ll recognise the distinctive red, green and white made so famous by cyclists like Fausto Coppi, Gino Bartali and Marco Pantani representing Italy in their national colours. Even if you know nothing about cycling, you may be familiar with the same distinctive red, green and white shirts worn by members of the Penge Cycle Club. The name ‘Penge Cycle Club’ and the list of our valued sponsors (Blue belle café, Designer Drapes, Murray Butchers and SE20 Cycles) are a bit of a giveaway. So what’s it all about?
We’re a local, volunteer run club that spans a wide range of ages and abilities. We actually started life 6 years ago as a club to teach young kids how to ride a bike for the first time and to learn how to ride properly, safely (and fast!). Kids aged between 4 and 16 – (well, some of our adult members are still kids at 60) come to our ‘Go Ride’ sessions, where qualified coaches put them through their paces. Some go on to race, and do very well. Others go on to enjoy leisure cycling and are that bit better and safer for the experience.
4 years ago, some of the mums and dads involved in the club decided that they too would like to ride with a club, so the adult section was created with the aim of providing riding companionship and route finding for groups of cyclists of roughly the same ability. From the beginning, we have welcomed a diverse bunch, with some super-fit sportive riders who do crazy things like the Etape du Tour (a mountain stage of the Tour de France) and Ride London – 100 miles over the course of the London Olympic road race in the Surrey Hills. Other potter around the lanes in North Kent, enjoying the fresh air of the North Downs and the tea and cakes in lovely villages like Downe and Westerham.
We now have 200 members and each week 60-70 riders set out from SE20 Cycles at 8.00am on a Sunday morning. (We move the start time to 9.00am in the winter) We split into groups, based on ability, with routes of varying difficulty and length. All groups share the same ethos. We are all there because we love cycling. We go out of our way to welcome new riders and are not in the least bit stuffy.
So, if you are a complete novice, or a hardened road-warrior, come along and try us out. Drop in to SE20 and have a chat with Winnie. He’ll gladly provide you with a bike to suit you and is a top mechanic if you just need to refurbish an old steed that has been gathering dust in the shed. Or contact us on this email and we can talk you through how to get involved. firstname.lastname@example.org Of course, check out our website www.pengecc.org where you’ll find details of our Go Ride section, our adult rides and special ‘one-off’ events like our track sessions and time trial. Make a date for the Tour de Penge, on Sunday 5th June – an event we run hand in hand with neighbouring club, Bromley Cyclists and the Penge Tourist Board.
Photographs courtesy of Stan Alland.