I might have guessed that my first post would be about cycling….
Cycling at night really can be very exilerating, especially in a group. We set off and rode in our standard 2-by-2 formation making our way through the side streets of Harrogate until we hit open countryside and into the back lanes to the south of town.
The first climb approached and it was time to get out of the saddle and put some effort in, it was only a short climb, but enough to get the lungs and legs working. The hill didn’t segment the group too much. At the top we were greeted by good views as the night was clear. Along the ridge we rode, the pace steady chatting away until we turned to have our winds on our backs, which coincided with the road descending.
The pace picked up, but we maintained our formation. Nothing beats a group of road cyclists rolling along in tight formation. There is a low hum coming from our tyres as they glide easily over the tarmac. One village goes by and then another, and soon we are descending again, but even more rapidily into Wetherby. The speed hits 30mph and 12 riders have no more than a few inches between their front wheel and the rear wheel of the rider in front. The trust in a peleton is like no other in sport in my view. One wrong move from the person in front, could bring everyone crashing down. At 30mph+ that is going to hurt. Communication in the group is key. Potholes are shouted out and approaching cars from in front and behind are also pointed out. It is vital that everyone in the group knows the conditions and are concentrating to ensure our collective safety.
Wetherby disappears behind us, and it is time for some fast flat riding The pace is kept high, but not too fast to shell riders out the back. If we all ride as a group and take our turns on the front, then we conserve energy. Knaresborough soon approaches and it is time for our familiar ascent of the last hill of the night, Knaresborough Hill. This splits the group a bit, but we soon reform at the top and head for our recovery pint at the clubhouse after a good 25 mile ride.
On a clear night, when the roads are quiet, nothing beats a ride through the Yorkshire countryside on a bike.