Lockdown Week 5, 24th April 2020

It’s going to be a while until we get back to normal. Just before we went into lockdown, the club committee met and agreed to cancel all group activities until mid-April. Well, this week we met again, and have extended this until the end of June. We’ll keep looking in the meantime, but sadly this means another event bites the dust. The Tour de Penge won’t happen in June this year. We may try to run it later in the year, but there seems little point planning it now.

It’s hard not to get disheartened by the situation – the endless stream of bad news and the gradual dismantling of the cycling calandar, but there are some positives. If you haven’t already dipped your toe into the world of virtual group riding, then you have a treat in store for you. There is now a massive contingent of Penge riders climbing up the league tables in Zwift racing and the enthusiasm evident from the Facebook posts is infectious, in a good way.

I think my favourite comment was:

“I can’t believe I’ve only been on Zwift for a week and I’ve already done 5 races.”

These sessions continue to be organised less formally by club members, but to make it easier to find out how to get involved, we have now put details up on the website.

Another positive for me comes from reading stories like this next one. One of the real pleasures missing from my life is the chance to nip into SE20 for a coffee and a natter on a Saturday morning. We’re a big club these days, and no one knows everyone any more. But there is one person that everyone knows, and that is Winnie – whose shop and whose massive personality is very much the beating heart of Penge CC.

That’s a bike?? –  Winston Farquharson

Sunday 15th March was the last day Rule#19 officially served coffee. On the following Monday, a week ahead of the Government’s announcement, the doors were closed to the public. Visitors to the shop were greeted outside. NO ENTRY! A couple of weeks, maybe a month I hoped. A week later, the Government ruled that my doors would have to stay closed for a wee bit longer…or would it!

SE20 Cycles shares these doors and, although Joseph was dispatched on a long training vacation Chez Kent Hills, the store remained ready for business. For some unknown and not actually discussed reason, the Association of Cycle Traders (our national body) decided that we would offer free or discounted servicing for the NHS. Not one to quibble, I duly set to task. A week later I was a dribbling mess. I’m generally incoherent, but during these past few weeks I have been absolutely shattered! Not just from working on bikes for our NHS and other essential workers, but from all manner of bicycle shaped objects (some loosely shaped) appearing and ‘just needs the puncture thingy fixed’ or ‘the folding piece doesn’t fold anymore’.

Oh the [stuff] I’ve worked on. Nothing turned away. The biggest difficulty, aside from seeing all you blighters zwifting, has been trying to manage the expectation and the volume while my younger sister was languishing in ICU as a patient suffering from Covid19, contracted while working as a nurse at the PRU. While trying to shop for my self-isolating father, who is 79, blind and lives alone in another part of London. While managing life at home as my son turned 18 at the beginning of April and my partner soldiers into work as an essential NHS worker. While working online into the night to create a workable solution to the chaos in the shop.

We aren’t a typical bicycle shop, but we have attempted to respond to local demand for bicycles and bicycle repairs due to the restrictions on travel. We missed the ‘Lipstick Effect’ (when we treat ourselves with small gifts during times of crisis) but are still providing bicycles and bicycle parts online, as well as delivering them myself in the evenings. I’m still collecting and dropping off repairs too. I’m insanely proud of how I’ve actually managed to survive the past few weeks – I’m never proud of myself! Thank you to everyone for thinking of us the small business during this time.


Zwift, Turbobeat and other virtual cycling

You’ll find details of all of our club’s virtual cycling activities on the club website.

Thursday night is the main group ride on Zwift, but there is racing and other activity all the time.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are Turbobeat live sessions, hosted online.

Don’t get disheartened – get fit!

Bike Servicing at SE20

Help Winnie by making sure you use his online booking system to get your bike booked in for repairs or a service.

Have a great weekend.

James Hanscomb, Chair of Penge CC.