A group of anxious riders began to assemble upon Bikeworks in Bethnal Green for the first practise Poplar Peddler ride. Many of us had initially trained with Bikeworks earlier this year but this was the first time we were taking our peddling onto the streets of East London. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. Thankfully Sunara and Will, the newly qualified trainers, were on hand to guide the group to, along with Bikeworks, and to kick-start the first of many group Poplar Peddler rides. So without further ado, lets go...
The first part of the ride was undoubtedly the most nerve-wracking, navigating our way through the backstreets with its pedestrians, overtaking cars and parked vehicles. There was a leader at the front and back, whilst the more confident riders snaked alongside the group checking if all was well – which it was.
We cycled to Victoria Park, and once we were away from our fellow motorists, we all began to take in the relaxed atmosphere a bit more; letting the breeze guide us along whilst soaking in the sunshine that was out to greet us. We moved from the park to the canal before reaching the Velo Park. There were a few wobbles near the canal, space was tight but everyone did so well.
Once at the Velo Park the anxiety started to build again as we got ready to take on the track (by anxiety I really mean excitement!). The tarmac was smooth, and after getting up the initial hill the momentum gathered from going downhill was thrilling. It did not take us long to fall in love with the track. Admittedly other cyclists were flying past us, lapping us a few too many times, but I felt like I was Hussain Bolt on two wheels. I can remember a few months ago we were all still learning how to ride a bike, and most of us hadn’t been ridding since childhood. And to see us now all zooming around the Velo Park track laughing and trying to master the gears is a massive achievement.
The weather was warm, the track was long, we were excitable, and by the end of the session we were exhausted. Chatter and jokes ensued on the leisurely ride back. Needless to say the ride was a success, and with summer around the corner can’t wait to do it all again very soon.