Lockdown Week 13, 19th June 2020

Just when you were beginning to think it would never end – it seems we may be able to re-introduce group rides.

We were told we would have 2 weeks warning of group activities being back on – but in the event we’ve just had 1 day. We had a really good look at whether we can run rides this Sunday, but have reluctantly decided to delay our re-launch until Sunday 28th June.

As Peter Crouch might say, ‘back stronger’.

A word of caution though, riding ‘safely’ to the guidelines set out by British Cycling is not going to be easy. Honestly, if you’re worried about catching and spreading the virus, you may be better off staying solo riding for a while because, however careful we are, we are going to introduce some risks. We will have to be fully armed with our common sense. Be ‘alert’ as a certain tousle-haired blonde might say. There is no set of hard and fast rules we have to follow, just guidelines, a bit like the pirates’ code.

Niki will be recruiting ride leaders and setting up rides for next weekend. A detailed e-mail explaining how this will work will follow. Please pay careful attention to this because it’s important we get it right.

To this week’s guest writer:

When we set out on lockdown, and the committee agreed to keep this form of communication going, it was an obvious opportunity to get other club members to step up to tell their story. I’d like to thank all those who have made a contribution. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. I certainly have, and so have my Mum and Dad. There was one person I was always going to ask to contribute, because he is one of those people who just makes the world a better place. Life and the world of cycling would be much less fun without Davey and I love reading his stories. The trip he organised to Newcastle last year was one of the best cycling trips of all time and one of the biggest regrets of lockdown was that we lost this year’s planned ride to Nice. Take it away Davey

Meet the McTeague Family (sigh) by David McTeague

Howdy folks. So James asked if I could write something for the Friday email, to which I immediately replied “no probs”.

Upon sobering up the next morning the feeling of dread was stronger than usual and largely based around this, “what the… am I going to write about”??. Concurrently I was plunged into a deep fear of either a) offending you good folks with my language (d’oh), or b) Just offending you good folks!

So I decided to write about my ‘cycling’ journey, my ‘family’. Those that know me will know I don’t have a family, OK, I do, a great one, but not here in Clapham. My kids are here though – all 6 of them, and one on the way. It’s an exciting time. But has been a testing one too.

1. Tommy Zoom

The firstborn – he lives in the kitchen now.

As many of you will know, I grew up in the West Coast of Scotland, and am therefore blessed with a natural athleticism, which would be a truism if Vaping, Curry, Wine and Beer consumption were athletic endeavours! I’ve certainly put the training in if they are – Gold medallist me. I know this will come as a surprise to many of you, but my 20’s and 30’s, from what I can remember, were very misspent. It is perhaps also no surprise then that I have battled with mental illness through some big chunks of my life, most of my 30’s to be fair.

But then Tommy came along.

He coincided with a classic mid-life crisis (I’m thinking this is the case for many of you). I wanted to change my life, get a bit fit, and yes, I am Scottish, save a bit of cash on my commute. So I bought a hybrid and started riding to work. Yes, I looked ridiculous in my B&Q high-vis as I rode down Clapham road, yes, I was out of breath after 3 mins on the flat – but I bloody loved it. Schmaltzy as this is – but that bike saved my life. Thing is, I needed to go faster…it was time for number 2.

2. Death Trap

Dee, she’s permanently attached to the turbo now.

My first road bike. And the cause of so many slow motion crashes (thus the name) at traffic lights, as I struggled, and failed to get my feet out of these new fangled clip-in pedals. Also, the bike I rode my first London to Paris and my first Ride London on. I had my first ‘bonk’ on Dee (now my only bonks!), and I joined the mighty Penge riding her.

Dee carried me through many a lockdown group trainer road session – and again Schmaltzy (I’m such an emotional sod), but those group rides were a life saver in the first 8 weeks of lockdown. Thank God for Turbos. 😉 The same year I got Dee, Tommy and I rode along the Loire – pannier wests and a tent all rigged up. My first tour. And an insight into the ‘reach’ of a bicycle. Cue number 3…

3. Crispin

He’s a tank, a steel tourer.

He doesn’t get out much – but God – when he does. We’ve been everywhere together, Istanbul, Venice, Budapest, LEJOG… And next year we’ll be cycling from Chicago to New York together (hopefully).

Anyone that reads my rubbish blog will know that the best bits of these tours are actually the associated side shows – basically the total carnage and disasters that occur:

  • wild dogs;
  • broken gears;
  • rubbish hangovers;
  • snapped seatposts;
  • handbags at dawn between my mate and I.

There’s always something about to happen on tour – but in general we get there…slowly. Speaking of pace, and of mid-life crises’ it was time for the Ferrari….

4. Donatella

The Italian lady.

My first Carbon road bike. A major splurge – but better that than any real vice, I guess! I should start by saying that reports of domestic brutality are largely exaggerated, particularly those in Wallonia.

She’s a cracker and takes pride of place in the mad wee bike room here, living the high life, as she is accustomed to. If you speak to her she will regale you with stories of Welsh mountains, of assisting me and DK to complete the full distance ( 😉 ) Maratona, but largely of dragging some folks quickly around the fields of Cambridgeshire. She looks fantastic, not so much with me on her – but also…I had an urge to look cool, so…

5. Nellie

A fixie – rarely ridden – is my wee run-around. But largely bought so I could look cool if I ever went to Hackney – I haven’t yet. And finally, to…

6. Tin Tin

He’s Titanium, and hard.

We’re finally beginning to get along after a torrid start. He doesn’t know it yet, but given Donatella will never go out in the rain – he is my winter bike. Like I said – he’s hard. Also – I think he’s the coolest of the bunch, largely because the 2 other David’s have one…

So that’s them, the kids. They all do the same thing, and yet each have their own unique personalities, and stories.

The last 3 months

There are all different kinds of bikes, and all different kinds of cycling, they are all just as valid, fun, and achievable as each other. Whether your thing is chasing PB’s up Layhams, cycling up and down Chalkpit over and over (you nutters), scooting about town on your commute, smashing it out on Sportives, cycling to get some cake and coffee, touring across a continent, lightweight bikepacking, hammering it on the track, bagging Audaxes, cycling around a muddy field (why?) But not always just fun, sometimes medicine too.

The last 3 months have been unprecedented, but also I would describe it as crazy, and tough, and terrifying, frustrating, uplifting, wine, confusing, washing hands, boiling of house keys, solitary, sad, facemask, longing, illicit, happy, vinyl gloves, depressed, elated, turbo, Zoom, family video calls, unnecessary on-line shopping, thankful, angry, enraged, run, more boiling keys, more hand washing, and lots of small cans of ridiculously named ale…actually, it’s been all of the words. But in no small way, riding my bikes has helped me, and a lot of you, get through it.

So, now I’ve literally bored you to tears I’ll end on some positive news – the ‘any day now’ new arrival. I’ve noticed all the cool kids are doing the ‘gravel’, whatever that means – and thus in the search of coolness I will be trying to join them imminently – of course I’ll be rubbish at it, and most likely terrified – but I’ll give it a go, and have fun doing it.

I think I’ve lived a fair bit. I’ve been low. I’ve been high. I’ve been given things to help my low’s. I’ve taken things to bring me highs.

But as of now…I’ve discovered the humble bicycle(s) appear to do both.

On yer bike!


Indoor Cycling

Out on the road or not, we still have plenty of indoor riding on. Easier to keep your distance and yet to continue riding with your pals – or even to make new pals that you might not normally ride with.

Turbo Beat Live

We’re now into business as usual and these continue to be excellent. Sessions run at the following times:

  • Monday 7am
  • Tuesday 6pm
  • Wednesday 7am & 6pm
  • Thursday 6pm
  • Friday 7am

The morning sessions are a slightly more gentle workout than the evening sessions, which can be pretty tough.

A variety of tickets are available on Eventbright so you can buy into these by session, monthly etc.

Zwift Racing

Races are on Tuesdays and Thursdays with some evening and others at lunchtime. Keep an eye out on our Facebook group or get yourself onto the messenger group to get involved.

How to join?

Details of how to log into the Turbo Beat sessions and how to join in the fun on Zwift are on the club website.

Closing Thoughts

Have a great weekend.

James Hanscomb, Chair of Penge Cycle Club.