The Hatching of a Fledgling Cyclist by Helene

Helene is a mainstay of our cycling club, usually winning the annual awards for both the most miles and the most elevation. In 2021 she cycled nearly 9,000 miles with elevation the equivalent of 22 Everests. She often smashes her own miles goal just through her joy of riding. Yet she only started cycling in 2013, and was only able to ride more than at weekends from 2018. Here is a little story of how a huge passion for cycling was born.

‘I had my epiphany one glorious sunny bank holiday when I spotted a group of cyclists – THAT was what I wanted to do! Suffering somewhat from the ‘empty nest’ syndrome, I had been pondering for a while how to spend my newly acquired Saturday morning ‘me time’. Ideally an outside activity, well away from the laptop, but something that would occupy a few hours at a time without wearing out my aging joints. 

So I googled, found KVG on my doorstep and within 2 weeks I had bought a road bike, attended an induction session and with much trepidation, turned up to a hugely warm welcome for my first Club ride. That was in 2013.

From the on, every Saturday would see me at Hilden as a top priority. Every ride required such concentration – which gear lever to use to change up and down, riding close to the rider in front, calling out hazards…. all hugely aided by the (necessary!) tips and encouragement from my co-riders. 

Before long, Sunday rides were added as a regular fixture, and then on retirement from the workplace in 2018, came the freedom and joy of cycling on weekdays. What could be better than a Monday morning ride instead of being in the office!

And so a whole new world opened up. Swept along by the enthusiasm of others, there has since been a succession of sportives, self supported and Club organised cycling holidays with KVG friends within the UK and abroad. There have been numerous outings to the seaside, iconc hills such as Mont Ventoux, Everesting in a team of 4 on a local hill and routes such as North Coast 500 conquered… the list goes on.

Nor did the pandemic and lockdown dampen things, rather the reverse. Building on the annual winter Club turbo workout sessions, and with the use of Discord for chatting, I kept connected to my Club friends through regular KVG Zwift meetups. And that was when I developed a passion for Zwift racing, so that now racing for KVG during the winter months is an established part of my annual calendar.

Looking forward, the 2022 highlight will be the famous Lands End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) in June. Here again, I will be accompanied by more than a dozen KVG friends, all doing it together! Preparation will include the KVG ‘at home’ Training Camp in March, a week of cycling in France early April, followed by a week in Majorca late April.  Wish us luck!

But most of all, NONE of this would have happened or been possible without the inspiration, encouragement and friendship that is KVG.