Who Be The Newbie

Being the new editorial guy, it feels like I’ve just joined a new cycling group. Except this group rides every weekday and most weekends as well. The new guy in the group, we all know what that feels like don’t we? I didn’t really know what to expect, how fast the pace would be. Will I be able to keep up, or get dropped like a sack of spuds? But that’s what joining a new group is about isn’t it? Meeting new people, learning what you don’t already know, sharing what you do.

I haven’t always been writing. Being formally trained as a graphic designer, and having worked in the creative industry for over six years, I decided that it was enough. It was time to try something new.

What I’ve always been doing though is cycling. Ever since I learned to ride (on a sparkly pink and white hand-me-down, mind you) as a kid, it has always been a source of fun, relaxation and more importantly freedom. About five years ago though, certain events took a turn in my life and I turned to riding my bike as an escape to get my mind off things. Somehow the cycling bug bit and I started getting into the sport more seriously. I got my first road bike, really started riding, and haven’t stopped since.

In those five years or so, I’ve done road races, overseas rides, a couple of tris, group rides and solo centuries when everyone else felt like sleeping in on the weekend. I’ve taken bikes apart, put them back; refurbished old bikes, built new ones. Crashed into people, cars, pick-up trucks, road dividers, animals and other bikes. Cuts, bruises, punctures, sprains, stitches. Each time I come back somewhat richer than before, not quite physically or financially, obviously. Approximately in the 40,000km region so far, my cycling is nothing religious, but I get around.

You see, I don’t just see the bicycle as a means of transport or even sport. To me the humble bicycle is one of the biggest inventions that changed the world after the invention of wheel. During the days of the push-powered dandy horses to the velocipedes and penny farthings of the 19th Century, these were ground breaking inventions. Not only did it give people a chance to explore the world outside of their own communities, but they also found work, businesses and other things that they wouldn’t have fathomed if not for the bicycle. It gave people freedom. It gave people hope.

It changed the way people saw the world. They saw opportunities. New Inventions. The car and the aeroplane wouldn’t be here now. The invention of the bicycle essentially changed the entire course of the future to be what it is today.

Even today, bicycles bring you to places you wouldn’t normally go. Into the lush trails or to scenic mountains and passes where cars and trains cannot access. It brings you adventure. It brings you freedom. So when I ride a bike, it isn’t simply about how much it costs or how fast or light it is or what technology it is has. It is more about paying a certain level of homage and appreciation to its humble beginnings. It is about the atmosphere and camaraderie of cycling. It is about the experience.

Coming back to the group ride. The past four months have seen me getting used to the ins and outs of Togoparts. I’ve been given the chance to lead the peloton, and I let other members take the lead as well, being sweeper to make sure everything’s in place.

At the height of our tenth anniversary, it seems like exciting days ahead. As we continue to learn, share and ride, a high level of feedback from you our readers, is important in how we enhance and progress into the days ahead. Feel free to drop me a line at [email protected] or we could even go for a ride!

Till then, ride safe!