I bid you to welcome to the blog of The Highway Cycling Group, (or Highway Cycle Group, or Highway Cycle Club, inconsistency is one of our many defining features). The Group was started in the 1980s by my father, the late D. G. Evans. He loved making up clubs and groups and this group was basically a formalisation of our family penchant for cycling around Wiltshire country roads. The name comes from the very small hamlet of Highway in North Wiltshire where my father lived for a time. You only found Highway if you were looking for it, you wouldn’t just drive through it as it existed as the only thing on a loop road off the Hilmarton-Bushton road or the Hilmarton-Compton Basset road.
With so isolated a location, back in those days there were few cars driving around those lanes, making the roads ideal for family cycling, so father formed The Highway Cycling Group. There were four of us in the ‘core’ of the group with matching tops (blue and white stripes) but many other family friends joined us on our excursions to local pubs, landmarks or people’s houses.
All that cycling helped keep me fit and gave me plenty of stamina, standing me in good stead for my first job as a bale-hauler on local farms. I am certain that these early rides, often of thirty-forty miles, completed in my early teens, gave me a strong base of fitness. The Highway Cycle Group was all about A-B or A-A on the bike, no time limits, no races, no flash or ‘fancy’ gear, just the shear pleasure of riding a bike.
Anyway, my father has been gone for over a decade and the cycling world is obsessed with racing or mountain-biking, with more and more equipment and expensive materials becoming available for cyclists. Paradoxically, the roads are busier and faster making the leisure cyclist a bit of a dying breed.
It is my belief and my hope that there is a whole group of riders who just love to ride a bike from A-B or A-A via B and don’t give a damn about clipless pedals, carbon frames, shaving their legs, gnarly singletrack, fashionable baggies, areo helmets, 22mm tyres, fixed gears, camelbacks, suspension, £100+ cycling shoes or any number of fantastic cycling innovations that, although great, you don’t actually need in order to enjoy riding.
I love all the paraphernalia associated with cycling, I love to drool over catalogues and bike mags looking at all the gear (and gears) available, but I could spend a fortune tricking out my bike and it wouldn’t make me a better rider. The Great Eddy Merckx was asked what three things someone could do to be a better cyclist and he said “Ride your bike, ride your bike, ride your bike”.
SO with that in mind I have restarted The Highway Cycling Group with the intention of riding my bike (bikes, I have four). If you like riding your bike, whether it’s a beautiful carbon frame racer, a full suspension mountain-bike, a Brompton or a shopper then I invite you along for the ride. This blog will record my rides and my views on cycling, I aim to ride properly at least three days a week and the other days I will pootle on my bikes, taking every opportunity to ride (without deserting my family or work commitments). If I don’t ride, I’ll post some cycling writing about something or other. Maybe this will be interesting to you, maybe it won’t, if nothing else, it’s going to force me to ride my bike or be shamed into silence on this site. If I haven’t posted for a while, it means I haven’t ridden for a while, please feel free to kick my chamois insert to get me going again.
Keep those pedals turning!