A little over a year ago, cyclist Craig Atherton, from Blackburn, created a small group. The idea was that it would be for any kind of cyclist, and above all, it would be friendly. And so the ‘Friendly Cyclists’ Ride Social group was born.
Now, 130 group members and just 12 months later the group is proving that social cycling is for everyone, is more popular than ever and, usually, will include a nice piece of cake!
‘We are an inclusive group, not a club, and we ride together on those weekends when there are no British Cycling guided rides going on near us,’ explained Hugh Doyle, one of the regular riders with the ‘FCs’.
‘We have roughly 130 members now and when a ride is planned, even at short notice, we always get a great turnout,’ he added, explaining that the increase in women’s cycling is definitely reflected in the membership of their Ride Social group:
…when a ride is planned, even at short notice, we always get a great turnout.
‘The group is completely non-competitive and generally will involve coffee and cake at some point. The friendly and supportive environment has really helped us in attracting a large number of female members and on most rides we will have about 60 per cent females riding.’
Having started as a small group, the growth of the FCs is demonstrating the surge in popularity of social cycling, allowing and encouraging people to ride together with others like them.
Indeed, such has been the growth of the FC group, they recently undertook their longest ever ride, as founder Craig Atherton explains:
‘We planned our first ever one hundred mile ride, which started in Leyland and visited Preston, Thornton, Blackpool and down to Lytham, then we headed through Kirkham, back around Preston, down to Leyland & a loop around the town put us at 100.8 miles.’
‘The ride is called ‘Who’s The Centurions – We Are!’ and we had more than fifty people registered to ride, all through Ride Social.
‘The group has grown to 130 members in just a year, with nearly 1,000 riders cycling in total.’
Craig Atherton, group founder, said: “We love riding our bikes around Blackburn, Burnley, Accrington, Chorley, Longridge & South Ribble. Some rides are suitable for families, so feel free to bring the kids along, others will be adults only due to the distance and elevation of the ride.
“We start together, ride together and finish together. All our rides are marked with the distance, elevation and speed of the ride – So you can do it. Get in touch with us if you want to take part. I’m a SkyRide Ride Leader leading guided rides and I’m also a trained route planner – I enjoy my cycling and appreciate it even more when I have people to ride with!”
To find out more about Ride Social, and to discover more groups like the Friendly Cyclists, simply type in your postcode on the website.