If you’re asking ‘Why join Old Bleach?’ you’re probably questioning ‘Why join a cycle club whatsoever?’ or you may even wonder ‘Why cycle?’. We shall endeavour to answer all these questions below.
It would be easy to answer this with another question – ‘Why not cycle?’ However, you’re probably looking for solid reasons to get out on your bike and not just more questions.
- We’ll start with the obvious; Cycling (or any aerobic activity) makes you fitter and healthier. It also tends to make people happier.
- Don’t be put off by the gurning grimaces of cyclists crawling uphill – the ‘elation of elevation’ upon reaching the summit is absolutely wonderful; The easy run down the other side doesn’t hurt either and the views can be spectacular.
- For many people regular exercise can be a great tool in the fight against depression and cycling seems to be particularly good at this. Being outside, taking in the world around us and meeting personal challenges can all give the cyclist a buzz which lasts far beyond his or her time on the saddle.
- You’ll lose weight or keep weight off. A cyclist riding at high speed and high intensity can burn over a thousand calories per hour of exercise. A cyclist moving at a more sedate pace will burn a few hundred calories per hour. Old Bleach burns something in the middle. Remember this important formula…
[BC = MC + LG]
BC = Burnt Calories, MC = More Cake, LG = Less Guilt
- It’s reasonably inexpensive. While it is possible to get carried away and spend as much as you wish on cycling, it doesn’t have to be pricey. You don’t need to go out and buy an expensive bicycle if you can buy a reasonable second-hand bike or even borrow one from a friend. Likewise, spending large amounts of money on cycling clothing doesn’t make much sense until you’ve decided it’s an activity you would like to spend a lot of time doing. When compared with plenty of other activities, cycling offers great value per pound.
- It’s as social an activity as you want it to be. Sometimes cyclists are referred to as ‘sociable loners’. It’s probably not a flattering description but there’s a nugget of truth in there. Cycling is an activity which you can do as much on your own or in a group as you please. You can go out for long rides alone, work tightly as part of a team or do some combination of your own choosing. It’s an activity which is easily shaped to suit everyone and nobody will think you’re peculiar if you simply don’t feel like chatting or if you don’t shut up all day. We’d like to think that, rather than ‘sociable loners’, we’re a group happy to let people be what they want to be when they want to be it.
- As exercise goes, it’s fairly kind on one’s joints. Cycling is a low impact activity. Although there is a lot of repetition of motion, the resistance is quite low and our joints can do huge amounts of cycling on a well set up bike without any problems whatsoever. Obviously that assumes you don’t have a pre-existing condition – although it can prove a suitable option for the likes ex-runners with dodgy knees etc. due to the aforementioned low impact nature of cycling.
- You can cycle forever. Maybe not ‘forever’ but definitely well into the twilight years of your life. We know a CTC-NI man who was born in 1926 and, until a couple of years ago, still cycled ten thousand miles a year. Admittedly that is a reduction from the thirteen thousand miles a year plus he cycled when he was in his seventies. Although astounding and impressive, this example is not as unusual as you may imagine. There are plenty of cyclists who remain extremely active on their bicycles well into their late seventies and eighties. Some have even been known to keep pedalling in their nineties and beyond.
- Cycling breeds cycling. Nearly anybody in a cycle club will tell you – the more they cycle the more they want to cycle. Whether it’s a mild hypnosis from the rotation of the cranks and wheels, we don’t know but there’s definitely a intoxicating joy to be found in the simple art of pedalling round the countryside.
- You can sit on your bottom. Cycling is one of the few forms of exercise where you can mix being active with being lazy. Why stand up when you can sit? (This point should be taken with a slight ‘pinch of salt’).
- It’s great fun! We love cycling and there’s a reasonable chance you might too. That takes us back to our original answer; Why not cycle?
why join Old Bleach?
Presumably you’re asking this question as someone living reasonably near the general Randalstown/Antrim area. There are plenty of clubs all over the world and, while we’re more than happy to have people join from anywhere, it probably makes most sense if you live locally. For a list of clubs in Ireland, please see here on the Cycling Ireland website.
As before, we shall list some reasons…
- We’re a friendly bunch.
- Drafting: Sitting in behind other people can save you up to thirty percent of your energy output. This is especially noticeable on windy days. Having a human windbreaker ahead is a pleasure.
- Old Bleach is not the sort of club to ‘mark our territory’ or ‘try to test out new boy’ etc. What we primarily want at the end of a club cycle is everyone to come back to Randalstown with the thought ‘I really enjoyed that and met a good bunch’ in their minds. Of course it should and will be challenging at times but there’s a marked difference between ‘challenging’ and ‘unpleasant’. Our focus is on ensuring words like ‘fun’ and ‘challenging’ come to the fore. ‘Painful’ and ‘unpleasant’ should not be in our vocabulary.
- We’re flexible. That’s not to say we can bend our legs up behind our heads. Rather, we aren’t stuck in a rut of saying ‘This is how you do it’ or ‘You should do this’. We’ll support our club members in whatever form of cycling makes them happiest. Whether it’s leisurely touring, full on road racing, sportives, time trials, triathlons or something else altogether which gives you your kicks, we’ll be pleased to help you as a member of our club. If you would like advice on anything from the more knowledgeable club members, please ask. ‘Advice’ will not be forced upon you.
- You can be part of building something. Although Old Bleach has been around for a long time, there have been periods where it might be fair to say the club was in ‘hibernation’. Those periods are over. We proactively want our club to grow and flourish. We ask people to come forward with ideas and opinions to help the club. No matter how good our club is or becomes, we can always improve. Listening to the thoughts of club members is a must. Having written that, if you just want to turn up, ride your bike and then go home without voicing any opinion, that’s absolutely perfect too.
- We want you in our club. We want you to be healthier. We want you to be happier and we want to be part of that.
If you would like to add any more reasons (or find out more about the reasons we have listed) please contact us.