Interview with Hugh Stultz

Once upon a time I considered joining a cycling club, so I joined Penge and cycled happily ever after. Obviously, this is the corniest way to speak about why I joined Penge but the fairy tale motif encapsulates the truth.

Over six years ago I remember going on my first ride. I remember climbing “Hogstrough” (notoriously steep hill) for the first time, and it is steep. As the gravity of the situation, no pun intended, began to dawn on me and I saw the peloton disappearing up the hill I felt I might need to explain to my fellow cyclists why I was so slow.

I stopped to let a herd of pedigree sheep cross the road.’

‘I stopped to give directions to some disoriented ramblers.’

Some might say this bordered on lying, I would call it creative use of prose. Expecting the group to be doubled over with laughter at my slow ascent, I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by words of encouragement and praise when I reached the summit. This summed up the Penge way. I learnt something that day, you’ll be all right on the day cycling with Penge.

I have stuck with what is now the Short 1 group, partly due to a level of familiarity with some of the riders and ride leaders. I considered a few other clubs before settling on Penge or before Penge settled on me. However the ‘if you can’t keep up, you’ll get dropped’ approach to cycling didn’t really appeal to me. I wanted a club that would build me, teach me and encourage me. And I think I have realised those aims.

I wanted a club that would build me, teach me and encourage me.

Penge has allowed me to discover exhilarating cycling routes in Kent and Surrey I might never have discovered. Rides I have done in Essex, Windsor and beyond have all been inspired by Penge. Someday, sooner rather than later, I would like to do a day long ride to somewhere I have never heard of assuming it was warm, not too hilly, relatively car free and green.

If you are looking for a club to join or just thinking about getting more serious about your cycling Penge has rides to fit all ambitions and affiliations from the fast ‘boys and girls’ to the more leisurely Short 1 and Steady. Don’t worry about what you ride, Winnie at SE20 Cycles will make it road worthy if it has been sitting in a shed unloved for longer than you can remember.

Just turn up and ride. Selah.