As The Tour de Penge enters its 11th year, the PTB caught up for a Q&A with organising committee member Conor Crossinggum from Penge Cycle Club.
PTB: Can you describe the Tour de Penge to those that don’t know it?
Part of the Penge Festival, the Tour starts with the spectacle of hundreds of cyclists setting off en mass down Penge High Street on a Sunday morning . In guided groups we make our way to Greenwich and back following a mostly off road route along paths and parks along the Waterlink Way. It’s a fun ride with plenty of opportunity for the younger riders to stop off for ice creams and a quick play in the playgrounds that line the route. Lots of people don’t know you can get from Penge to the Thames more or less off road, so it’s a bit of an eye opener.
PTB: What can we expect from this year’s Tour?
Usually we stop for lunch in Greenwich, but this year we’ve decided to take just a quick refreshment break before heading back to Alexandra Junior School on Cator Road– the home of Penge CC’s youth section – for a barbecue, more ice cream and a bit of a celebration.
PTB: Do we have to be super fit to take part?
No. The route is flat and should be easy for anyone of average fitness. We’ve had children as young as five complete it, and there’s always the option to do as much as you can before turning back.
PTB: Do we have to wear Lycra?
The only think we insist you wear is a helmet! There will also be Tour de Penge T-Shirts for sale before and at the event with the same design as the poster.
Nor do you need a fancy bike. Two wheels and working brakes will do the trick. Dr Bike will be at Penge Recreation Ground at the start of the ride to sort out any last minute flat tyres.
PTB: Does it take a lot of organising?
Yes! It’s been months in the planning and there are lots of groups involved including Bromley Cyclists, Bromley Council’s Sustainable Transport Team and our neighbouring cycle clubs, including Bromley’s Bigfoot CC. Local police are also helping out with the start of the ride and along the route.
Although we’re in our 11th year, we’ve had teams of riders double checking the route over the past few weeks to make sure all the ride leaders know where to go.
PTB: Tell us about the Penge Cycle Club
We’re perhaps a bit different from some cycle clubs that are dominated by competitive ‘middle aged men in Lycra’ in that we were founded by a group of local parents to teach children how to ride. The adult club was borne from that and has maintained the same friendly ethos. That’s not to say we don’t have some excellent riders, but above everything we’re inclusive and welcome riders of all abilities.
Locally we’re lucky to have support from Designer Drapes, The Blubelle Café, Murray Bros and, of course, Winnie at SE20 cycles.
PTB: What’s the best thing about the Tour?
Where to start. It’s satisfying seeing the younger riders cross the finish line. 16 miles is a long way for some of them and they’re so proud of their achievement. We’ve also had some adult riders who have come along to the Tour de Penge and ended up joining the club as a result. It’s great to get Penge on the cycling map with participants travelling from other areas to take part.
The 11th Tour de Penge takes place on Sunday June 11th, sign on from 8.30am at Penge Recreation Ground. For more details visit:
Picture: The 2016 event leaves Greenwich.