Our original plan came to fruition via emails and Facebook messages at the turn of 2010. We’d both been cyclists since our time together at Stanground College in the 1990’s and had raced locally for Fenland Clarion at the time.
In marketing terms you would say that what we identified was a “gap in the market” when getting YR off the ground. However, the truth was that the clubs we rode for at that time, Clarion and Peterborough Cycling Club didn’t seem to venture south of the River Nene that often for training and events. Something that has changed over the past decade.
What we wanted was the chance to ride together and with others aside from club politics and for the chance to represent Yaxley, the village we were both from, in the sport we love.
From the idea in January the first “group” ride came in March.
Five riders met at the top of Holme Road before setting out towards the Admiral Wells. They were Neil Bason who rode a hybrid and had replied to a Facebook post, James Fordham my Clarion clubmate, Nick Wilson who was a colleague from work, Steve and I.
We headed out into the fens before turning at the railway crossing and making our way to Radcliffe’s and turning South on the old A1.
It was relatively early in spring and there wasn’t too much remaining light, but we pushed on before turning down Cooks Lane, midway up the drag to Sawtry.
The road was in much better condition in 2010, with less loose gravel and fewer potholes. There were no cars and the chat flowed as we turned back towards the railway line and into Conington.
Those of you reading and hoping for an epic first ride will be disappointed ! it was about 17 miles overall with a fairly low average speed.
The group was born though and over the coming months Gary Gwynn and Rob Bernard came on board with much more interaction and drive for the group.
Our first jersey was white with blue sleeves and we did a run of 4! The 5 year anniversary one saw over 80 sold.
Volunteers have come and gone and the names and faces continue to change and evolve, but YR continues and is still seen as one of the first of this new wave of cycling groups that founded locally.
Whilst neither Steve nor I live close enough to Yaxley anymore to bump into the Riders out and about, the group and its development is something we both remain immensely proud of.
Here’s to the next 10 years.
Follow up posts – 10 years up for local cycling group
I am a bit of an obsessive for training diaries with my still owning written ones back to the mid 90s. So it was a pretty easy search to find my March 2010 ones.
And it confirmed that this coming Tuesday 17th March is the closest date as possible to a 10 year anniversary of the first officially organised group ride of Yaxley Riders.
You can read more about the foundation of the organisation by clicking here or selecting the menu item above.
The first ride was from the bottom of Church Street at the top of Holme Road (so before the White Bench was used as a meet point) and to beat the fading light at this time of year headed out down Holme Road before turning right at the crossing and heading to Radcliffe’s Yard and the old A1.
We were still waiting for delivery of the original white and royal blue jersey’s at this point so a wide range of colours and machines were on that first ride.
Incidentally you can read a piece on the evolution of our jersey from when I wrote for Road.cc here.. https://road.cc/content/blog/138769-evolution-jersey
Before getting to Sawtry we headed left on Gains Lane.
Nowadays the road is un kept and not suitable for your best wheels! If you blink you can also almost miss it on that little drag away from the first roundabout. Back then it felt like you were riding Flanders or Roubaix with narrow little tracks and a few twists, turns, rises and falls.
We came back the crossroads outside of Conington and then back past the airfield before re-tracing our steps back to separate at the end of Holme Road and go our own ways.
As rides go it was barely 20 miles and run off at a fairly sedate average speed. We set out together and fully intended to get back together, which we did.
On that night I wouldn’t have believed that in the next 10 years we would have a guided ride to the Tour de France, numerous reliability rides and have the areas most renowned group training ride in Hare and Hounds.
But all of those things have happened and despite plenty of criticism and hostility from a number of angles in the early days, the group is still going and still flourishing.
So this morning with all of that in mind I clipped in from my home and headed out in to the Lincolnshire fens where I now live fully kitted out in Riders clothing and remembering fondly that first evening out.
The conditions might have been much less friendly this morning with cold wind and the constant threat of rain, but that original spirit of getting out there and doing it remained.
So Happy Birthday Yaxley Riders.