We’re not even out the Olympic period yet, and the country has gone bananas for all things sport. Even friends of mine, that are normally bone idol have started eating better and have been running at lunchtimes or cycling to and from work.
It’s great to see, but over the Bank Holiday I really got to see just how big a difference it has been making around the country.
When the weather is good, there are certain local trails I avoid due to the traffic on the trail being pretty heavy with walkers and day-trippers, but given the amount of rain we’ve had, I decided to go and hit the cheeky trail. It’s one of those trails that has always been ridden by locals, and although a top section is a footpath we can get on to the trail without being on this part. But still the landowners are funny about it, so we avoid it at busy times. Dawn raids, and night blasts are best, but as I said- the weekend was too good to not get on the trail…
Arriving at the trailhead, there were a lot of people enjoying the view and I doubted whether I should hit the trail or not- but instantly a group approached me and started talking about how good cycling is, and how much they’d taken note of it since the Olympics. I expected the normal chit-chat about Chris Hoy’s thighs or Victoria Pendleton’s emotional performance, but was a little taken back when they started talking about the Mountain Biking at Hadleigh Farm. It seems the microwave meal of mountain biking was perfect for TV and people have started to understand it. They mentioned how Chris Boardman was a great commentator and knew lots about the riders, to which we all enjoyed a joke about those riders being on Boardman bikes, but it showed people were genuinely paying attention and becoming interested in it.
I explained how I’d been riding and racing most my life, and it runs in the family- and it was a shame how issues around the countryside are always a problem.
And to my complete shock, they told me they thought it was all out of date and that they liked seeing people out on bikes on trails as it meant the love of the countryside would continue to the next generation.
I smiled and mentioned this trail was a cheeky trail- to which they smiled back, and told me to go and enjoy it. It was the high light of all the trail-side encounters I’ve had, period.
So I’d like to say a huge thank you to Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Annie Last, Bradley Wiggins and all the other incredible Team GB riders at the Olympics for their efforts on representing and supporting cycling…