So that was 2018, the second year of our little adventure. Lots more stunning rides, some hugely enjoyable nights out and some difficult sock choices were my takeaways…By Paul Darby
The Full Set
This year we launched our Club Rides programme but not after a delay in March because of unseasonal snow drifts! We organised 7 rides in total that included the BCC-BBB (Balham-Brighton-Balham); The Full Set, which took in 4 counties; The Pancake, a flat and pacey excursion out West; The lumpy Headley Loop; and a PruRideLondon100 recce called the PruRideLondon100 recce. If you did all 7 it was over 730kms of riding and nearly 8,000m of climbing!
The Social Rides continued with record numbers turning out month on month on our now 4 established routes. It was great to see a number of members move up pace/distance groups as the year went on (and see a few go down a group!).
A number of us headed to Herne Hill Velodrome, for many a first taste of track riding.
In November we took on The Balham Rough Stuff, which in its 45km packs in about the same amount of elevation gain as The Pancake club ride that is 120km!
Also in November we launched our Group Ride Practice Sessions. Despite some grim weather the attendance and positive feedback was such that we plan to do something similar next year.
It was also great to see the Balham massive get together on WhatsApp for some impromptu rides with groups sometimes as large as 7 coming together on non-official club ride days.
We also introduced a new 5mile TT Course the Balham CC TT 8/5 and we look forward to seeing it being tested in 2019.
Top of the Socks
All these rides were completed with a new addition to the Balham wardrobe – the snazzy BCC cycling socks. One of the toughest decisions of the year was whether to go red or white.
Let gravity be your friend
The Socials moved from monthly to Bimonthly and in July we headed to Wandsworth Common for Pimms and Punctures night – a chance for the club to get together for a drink or two while gleaning some tips about bike maintenance from some of the more experienced riders. Top Tip when changing your inner tube? “Let gravity be your friend and don’t turn your bike upside down!”
We also held a Past, Present and Pizza night at the Balham Dynamo with the Balham CC old guard and new getting together for a club heritage night. Our special guests regaled us with tales from the 70s of marshalling as kids, first rides out with Dads and some great BCC socials.
We also supported the local pub trade quite a lot!
We’ve continued our efforts to celebrate our heritage and unearth more about Balham CC’s history. New memorabilia in the BCC archive includes a 1932 Handbook, a 1949 Balham Rough Stuff Route Card, and a poster from a track night at Herne Hill Velodrome.
We also now have 10 stunning trophies, three dating back to the First World War; a club jersey from the 60s and an almost complete set of the Balham Club Newsletters from 1937-1955.
Our research revealed more about our founder George Huntley and in turn found out our club is routed in the pub trade and the masons!
Under the hood
It’s worth mentioning some of the aspects of running the club we improved upon and/or developed in 2018. This year we introduced a new committee post of Ride Coordinator Lead to reflect our rapidly expanding membership, which Alan stepped into with great aplomb; a new Strava members group was launched to give us more scope for some admin light competition; we had a website overhaul with a members only portal introduced; new members and non-members bulletins launched to reflect a huge number registering an interest in being kept informed about social rides; and we also had to get our house in order with GDPR coming into force.
Well, I seem to have finished the end of year review with our database regulation triumphs…let’s change that with some more photo highlights of our year in the saddle.
BCC is founded on a love of getting out on a bike, keeping fit, fellowship and having some fun. We also try and support the local community the best way we can whether through getting out at local events or spending our hard-earned pennies at the local independent pub/restaurant or bike shop.
If that sounds like you, then contact us and we’ll arrange to get you out on a social ride with us.
Have you or any family members got any club memorabilia from the Balham years? Email me at email@example.com or drop me a line in the comments box. I would love to hear from you.