Congratulations to Bradley Wiggins! He maybe the first Brit to win the Tour de France, but British riders have been successfully pedalling the cycling torch for some time now: Mark Cavendish is already the current World Road Race champion, Sir Chris Hoy is the reigning Olympic track champion in three disciplines, Shanaze Reade is a triple World BMX champion and finally Annie Last is Britain’s best chance of winning a medal in the ladies mountain bike event at this year’s Olympics. Five different world class British riders, five different disciplines, but all with one thing in common – their love of two wheels in motion.
Although the Exodus cycling team can’t claim to be world class cyclists and we’re pretty unlikely to win any medals in the near future, what we have in common with these athletes is our love of cycling. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a stretch of alpine singletrack, some high altitude jeep trails in the Himalayas, a gentle potter along a bike path next to the Danube or forcing ourselves to the top of the Col du Tourmalet in the French Pyrenees, we just love riding bikes. Anywhere. Anytime. Anyhow.
Amongst the office staff here we have almost every discipline of cycling covered – city bike complete with wicker basket ridden by a lady in summer dress, tick; long-distance, carry everything in a set of battered panniers, tick; leg-shaving cyclocross fanatic, check; full face helmet wearing wannabe downhiller, hell yes; flat out circuit racing roady, certainly; singletrack demon, of course! OK, so no-one comes to work on a Penny Farthing, we don’t have space for a tandem in our secure bike parking and the fixie-hipster scene is remarkably under-represented so far, but if you were to take a stroll around our offices, you’d find evidence of bike culture everywhere.
There are bikes (too treasured to be kept outdoors) tucked into quiet corners, courier bags draped casually over chair backs, more Oakleys than you can shake a stick at, a number of “I’m an off-duty-cyclist” Livestrong bracelets peeking out underneath shirt sleeves, the occasional cycling tan (perhaps less obvious this year) and the lockers overfloweth with biking paraphernalia. Even our sandwich man arrives promptly at 11am each morning by bike – the distinctive squeak from the one of the pivots on his bike trailer causing Pavlovian hunger pangs even before the office pager announcement alerts you to today’s soup of the day.
We’re by no means all hard-core racers; luckily no-one strolls around in Lycra during office hours and there’s a significant percentage of people that simply love the convenience and freedom of the biker’s commute. Nevertheless, look around our car park and you’ll see the number of bikes far outweighs the number of cars – always a good sign for a prospective employer!
Although the debate will quietly rage on here about road versus off-road, downhill versus climb and Lycra versus baggy: ultimately none of it matters. The only important thing is that you get out and ride. It doesn’t matter where, when or how. Just get on your bike and get out there. Exodus will be right there with you.
By Exodus cycling champion, Olly Townsend.