In general, people like to plan when and where they are going for their well deserved breaks.
The 12 months and 365 days of the year can be like a master plan pinned on the walls of some family homes.
To clarify, there are Easter holidays then Summer destinations and all (theorically) sunny bank holidays and finally the end of year festive seasons.
Each break is associated to a place and sometimes outdoors activities which vary from trekking/hiking in the wild of Dartmoor to cycling along dedicated paths (thanks to Sustrans) which make bicycle users discover the beauty of the British countryside.
Holidays can be basic and fun. What all of us are after and this comes back in most surveys: having sunny holidays.
This is applicable throughout the year.
Summertime can be spend in holiday parks where there are several occupations including heated swimming pool, fishing lakes and cycle hire facilities.
When colder months are on the horizon, holiday makers still want the same freedom and joy of going outside. This is when cycle training camps can play an important role and turn everything around.
It is about having that opportunity to jump on your bicycle whether using a mountain bike, cyclo-cross or road bike – as long as the sun is out it will be a successful “this made my day”. Others will know all about it because, social media will share all the relevant hashtags and eventual selfies.
Nowadays, everything people do goes online. A strange habit of the twenty first century. As if others – who are or aren’t away – would be interested in your daily movements, purchase, activities which were back in the day written on paper and padlocked in a journal. Those days seem to have long gone. Meanwhile, most things which are shared are related to positive news about our busy lives, friends, fashion items.
It is very rare that someone will “instagram” a picture of an old broken analogue watch. It is more about showing the wooooorld a new tattoo, hair style or an evening out in a swanky restaurant. A bit like giving the envy to others to go to the same places and/or is it trying to become an influencer? Setting up a trend is what people are after.
Some thinkers have then decided to take people and their bicycles on holidays for a few days. Everything is organized carefully. There is a schedule, itinerary, daily agenda but all happens very smoothly in order to direct participants to a certain objective and destination without being too bossy – those individuals are after all clients, who may have paid a substantial amount.
Everyone is welcome of course and prices are not as high as you would think. Cyclists who decide to go to such camps just want to enjoy their time on the road – ideally under the sun – and meet other people with the same passion whatever type of bicycle they own.
It is a true community a bit like photographers. There is a kind of geekery related to what they use and which brand is perceived as being better or more versatile. Jargon is inevitable.
Whether you ride a carbon, steel or aluminium machine it doesn’t matter too much as there is no power trip involved. What matters is to cycle together from one point to another and potentially going home with great memories, new friends/contacts and better knowledge of yourself when taking the road. It is also about being able to negotiate difficult rides by using efficiently the right gear ratio and settings.
In fact, a ride can feel uneasy simply because your saddle and bike geometry is not at its best.
There are some experts such as CycleFit able to advice for such adjustments too. It is not about being fussy but comfortable when going for a day out for a few hours and some miles.
Everyone, even the best cyclists are always after improving their performances. Strava App is the tool which brings the cycling network together. A clever way to connect and compare time, distance and best private records on a specific road.
It is understandable that such holiday format is not for everyone, but it is without a doubt something to consider for cycle fans who are after the best of both worlds: going out on their bikes during winter months with the presence of a bit of sunshine over the peloton.
People who have never tried a fixed gear, will not understand what is special about it.
Once they try, an opinion is possible and an eventual switch from gears to fixed wheel.
Of course, not everyone will like the fact that riding such bicycle requires more anticipation and attention than a standard road bike.
On Saturday 26th September 2015, there was the 9th Velo Vintage Occasion and Ride in Exeter.
This event is starting to be THE gathering to cycle, take tea, converse and dress with style.
It is similar to a time travel journey for a day. The participants meet, ride, eat and have fun by showing passers-by lovely bicycles, tweed suits and lovely hats.
Alistair and Seb Cope are now well established. Each time, there are more and more stylish people and there are prizes too for the best:
- dressed lady
- beard (that’s one for the hipsters)
- decorated bicycle
- good sport of the day
- dressed gent
There were flat caps and bowler hats too.
On that particular day, Exeter had another vintage event as well. It was about classic cars and motorbikes. It was taking place in Barnfield Crescent. A private Georgian crescent, where petrol heads decided to meetup and have a bit of a party.
This was the second annual classic cars and bikes event – an unashamed imitation of The Goodwood Revival, drivers and guests to dress in period costume to match their vehicles – Source
The two events decided to make the day even more special by merging at 1.15pm.
Alistair Cope was leading the classy cycles on his own penny farthing in Exeter city centre towards Barnfield Crescent!!!
The visitors of the crescent were surprised to see even more well dressed individuals making their way through the beautiful location under a beautiful blue sky.
You can imagine the kind of semi organised chaos when eighty classic cars with their drivers, twenty vintage motorbikes and about hundred people on bicycles shared a narrow space. A great family day out hosted by Turner Locker
Everything went perfectly well and it is always with great pleasure to see that technology is not necessary to have a good event.
Food, drinks, music and coffee stalls were placed on the lawn as well as Sam White’s camera obscura.
And when you hear people saying that Exeter has nothing to offer… This is a real proof that there are in fact a lot of things happening but you just need to put your ear on the ground… High Street is not always the place to be to enjoy a fun day outdoors!