Penge CC is a community cycling club. We are based in the heart of Penge, closely linked to SE20 Cycles, a shop run by one of our founders, Winston Farquharson. Visit the shop and you will start to see why Penge CC is a little different. For a start, the bike shop is now as much a coffee shop as it is a bike shop. It’s a meeting place, a place to link up with like-minded people from all sorts of different backgrounds and across the spectrum of cycling ability.
Our founders started a ‘Go-Ride’ club for children; they wanted to make sure local families had access to some first class coaching that would give children a skill for life and a taste of the wonderful freedom of a simple 2-wheeler.
Now, of course, the club caters for adults too. Those founders also wanted to ride and, when their friends saw how much they enjoyed it, they went out and got a bike too. Then their neighbours, and so on. Part of the appeal of a club is that it has strong roots in its local community; for example, we run the ‘Tour de Penge’ annually. Here, we herd 300+ people, including families with children as young as 3, from Penge to Greenwich and back. That spirit, that joy of cycling for fun has spread and is shared across all the groups and the activities we get involved in. It doesn’t mean we don’t take our riding seriously. We have had more than 60 members take part in the Tour of Flanders sportive. We’ve done Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Paris-Roubaix. We can ride a bit too.
We talk about ‘Pedalling Camaraderie’. We like the play on words that implies we promote the concept of camaraderie. Our mantra is that we are inclusive and friendly. There is no entrance test, no qualifying circuit of Richmond park to get you in. You just need a bike, a helmet and a smile. We work very hard to help riders improve their cycling skills and to be adept at riding in groups. We want to be safe and considerate. We don’t all want to be fast, but we all want to get better.
For some, that means getting up Hogtrough without having to walk. (Hogtrough is a 20% hill in Kent that you will learn to love) To others it means winning on the track or finishing the Maratona dles Dolomites (A wickedly tough sportive in Italy).
It’s easy to say that you’re friendly and inclusive, but how do you measure it? One way is to look at the age and gender mix in the club. We have all ages and we have a good mix of male and female; with about 30% female. We don’t give them special treatment, or at least, no more special than everyone else. The club is as much for them as it is for everyone and that seems to work. Just read some of their stories on the women’s page and be inspired.
Don’t take my word for it – come and try us out. The best way is to sign up to one of our Sunday rides and find out for yourself why it’s the best club around.
James Hanscomb. Chair. PengeCC