Year we go, with Forge

It’s a year to be proud, says our Club Chair Paddy O.

I’m so proud to be a member of Forge London CC.
And I’m even prouder to be the Chair of Forge.
Well, why wouldn’t I be?
It’s a great club.

But it’s not because we have such talented riders. Fast riders. Amazing athletes. Skilled on the bike and with incredible endurance. We’ve won races, we’ve taken on challenges we’ve celebrate personal goals, we’ve surpassed targets.

That’s all great, however, I think we should be proud of Forge because of the environment and attitude we have all created.

We’ve always tried to ‘do the right thing’, do it ‘the right way’ and give as many people a voice and to have their say and help influence the decisions we make.

At the centre of it all is the Committee. So first up, I’d like to thank them, which, because of the expansion of the Club, in 2022 we moved from 7 to 9 members. We meet at least 4 times a year; Chris S our Club Captain, Tom W our vice-Captain, finance and kit dynamic duo Jon and Sue, Alex our svelte Club Secretary, the most industrious Rachel, the inspirational ToBo and the ever-bubbly, Anna B. The committee have been amazing this year. An honour to Chair.

Then there are our Ride Captains, helping us safely navigate the rides, plan the routes and point out ways we can improve riders and the days riding.

This time last year we had 60 members. We talked about becoming a sustainable club in which every F group had enough riders. Well, there’s work to do on that but as we stand today, just after our second birthday, we are 101 members. Our job will be to encourage all those members to come out more regularly this spring.

We should also take great pride in how many of us volunteer to help. Eight people for our trip to Flanders in April. 10 people helping look after hotels, flights, transfers for Sierra Nevada in May. People for kit, websites, copy writing, event calendars, the brand police, Ruben Q on the Rider Commitment Summary,

And for newer members, if you get a chance to go on one of these trips, I guarantee it will be an unforgettable experience. In 2022 with Gent, Girona, Isle of Wight and yes, even Ride London – I personally had the best riding of my life. Girona was dreamlike. Gent inspirational. Isle of Wight a right laugh and Ride London was er… fast.

So much pride in the achievements of our riders. Our amazing trio qualifying for the World Fondo Championship, representing their countries and Forge – Lewis C, Byron K  and Gareth S. It has inspired me – and others, to get back racing.

ToBo and Lewis winning and gathering points to become Cat 3 riders this year. Karim B racing away getting better every month. Pete D and De S starting racing. There’s a not-so secret Secret Squirrel Racing Club for those thinking about racing, where a few riders thinking about taking the plunge can share their thoughts.

Then there are the personal achievements. Peoples’ first group ride. Getting fitter, faster, going further, shifting a few KGs, moving up an F Group, leading a ride. Those that did their first 100km or 100 mile… One of the greatest senses of pride is watching riders develop into strong confident group riders, planning and stretching their horizons.

And then there were the times when things didn’t go so well, with a few injuries. They served as a reminder of the physical risks we sometimes take (and virtually ever sport does). But we should take pride in how we all rallied around, supporting the riders, offering bikes, help, advice and encouragement. We always tried to do the right thing.

And we have so much to look forward to in 2023. Trips to Flanders, Sierra Nevada, Purbeck, the Dolomites. Challenges to overcome, races to win, targets to be set and no doubt 100 conversations about the actual correct sizing of the club kit.

I hope you are all proud to be a member of Forge or you’d like to join.
Well, why wouldn’t you be?
It’s a great club.