Interview with Kate Vergette

Number of bikes?

Currently 5 (maybe a bit excessive?), 4 of which I bought using the Cycle 2 Work scheme. Many employers offer Cycle 2 Work schemes and if your employer doesn’t, convince them to, its really easy for them to set up.

What do you do for a living?

HR Business Partner.

How did you get into cycling and what made you join Penge CC?

I’ve always hada bike (my parents forced me to cycle around France for two weeks when I was 13!) and used to do a bit of mountain biking when I was younger but that was the extent of my riding. In 2015, I watched my dad in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 and decided I needed to start cycling so went home, Googled bike clubs near me and was faced with the option of Penge or Dulwich. The following Sunday I turned up for my first Penge ride and I’m still here.

How long have you cycled with Penge CC?

7 years [as of 2022].

Which group do you cycle with?

My first club ride was with the steady group, I now ride with Long 3 for road rides.

What do you like about riding with Penge CC?

Its such a diverse mix of people but we all have one thing in common and that’s the love of riding a bike.

A couple of years ago I was at The Hell of the Ashdown sportive. There were so many people wearing Penge jerseys that I was constantly saying hello to someone, whether I knew them or not. It was a great feeling that I was part of something so big and yet so friendly. At HOTA this year, I had the same experience but there were even more Penge jerseys. Our club just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Why do you think Penge CC is a good club for women?

Because we are so big and friendly and we do cater for all, whether you want to go for a ride and eat cake or whether you want to get faster – we help people with that and gender is irrelevant.

What is your proudest achievement in cycling?

That’s a really tough question, there are sooooo many – however beating Penge CC’s Chairman is always high up there.

What was the most enjoyable thing you did on a bike this year?

In 2022, two rides stand out. Firstly, the Penge CC trip to Belgium for the Gent Wevelgem sportive. The ride was long and the wind was relentless but it was a top weekend. Secondly, a gravel cycling bikepacking trip to the New Forest and Isle of Wight.

[In 2018:] This year has been my ‘year of cycling’ and I’ve done a lot of different events but the best thing this year was the Land’s End to John O’Groats ride: 980 miles in 9 days, seeing some amazing scenery and just loving riding my bike.

What advice would you give to someone getting into cycling?

Just get on your bike and enjoy it! Don’t stress if you can’t get up a hill, just keep trying it and one day you will make it – and don’t forget, that even those people that make it look easy, find it hard.

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve done on a bike?

In 2022, it must be Riding the Great North Trail from Derby to Cape Wrath in Scotland in 11 days. 

[In 2018:] Probably riding around London (M25 circuit) on the hottest day of the year and running out of water!