Back in May ’14 my wife & I had just moved to Rammy – to be close to the in-laws, but not too close 🙂 . Upon moving here, it was quite obvious that there were loads of fab rides around and loads of people riding, however I didn’t know anyone so what was I going to.
We’d moved here on the ‘1940’s weekend’. If you don’t know about it, please Google it. We didn’t know about it and I remember driving into the town in a battered up Sprinter to see GI’s leaning against the wall smoking Woodbine’s and thought “wow just where have we move to!”.
So, we’d been here only a couple of weeks (bear in mind we were just renting first to ‘try the area before we buy’) and I was the proud owner of my dream bike – a Rocky Mountain. A brand I’d coveted since the 90’s -and still do to a certain extent.
So there I was, a couple of weeks in a new place, a dream bike and no-one to ride with. I came up with this ‘crazy idea’ to start a mountain bike group on MeetUp. I knew about the platform from work as there a lot of tech meetups. When I mentioned the idea to my wife, she said “can’t you just wait a little bit, till we’ve settled in?”. Well no I couldn’t! So I started this group, not knowing what to expect, not knowing anyone, not knowing any routes. The plan was to just wing it and see what happened (I’m still doing that now! :-)).
For the record, I did go into a fairly local indie bike shop (who’s name I won’t mention) and very politely asked for some local routes, explaining the situation, with my OS map in hand. The reply was a very abrupt “the mechanics knows some- you can come back when he’s in. He might show you or he might not, I don’t know”. All delivered in a sort of “piss off back to where you came from” type tone. Needless to say I have never been back to that shop and never will. Xenophobic tool, that what I say.
Undeterred I just did my own research online and patched something together for the first ride. So next came the setting up of the group, let’s see who we can reel in. I set it up, cast the net, put on a ride and waited. I ended up with 2 other guys and me for that first ride. One guy kept apologising for being unfit as he’d not been out for ages, the other was an Ironman contestant. So there I was winging it, making small talk, trying to keep folk happy and to see where this would all lead. We had an okay ride, we did a now familiar loop of the moors and they cheerily promised to “see me again”. I never saw them again – and that was 5 years ago!
After that I thought I had maybe started something that wasn’t going anywhere as I had already put a ride on the following week and they weren’t RSVP’ing even though they’d promised to. Nevermind, surely some other folk will. And surely enough they did.
That second week was what I see as the start of the group as it is today. Alex and Tom had joined by this point and became a core nucleus in the group progressing and also become great friends.
We now stand at 170+ and growing with over 600 meet ups behind us and still going strong. I’m still waiting for a Rammy MTB wedding though so will some members please hurry up, date, then marry please!
Here’s to many more rides, socials, weekends away, foreign MTB trips and more.