Favourite Forge Ride, Ever #2

In between coffee stops, cakes and after-ride beers, we asked a selection of our more than 150 members to tell us their Favourite Forge Ride, Ever – and we found some pretty surprising answers.

Jemma’s Gem

Since joining Forge, strong and super-smiley F3 rider Jemma O reckons there’s not been one ride she hasn’t enjoyed. “Even the one where I was unlucky enough to get a double puncture, but all that was quickly forgotten with a Formula 1 style pit stop and the group helping to get me back on the road in no time! 

That said, ever-positive Jemma found it difficult to highlight just one favourite Forge ride: “It’s hard to choose just one as all the routes are so well planned (and they all happen to finish at the pub on Sunday, too!) with lovely cafes and stops for cake, country lanes and the challenging Surrey Hills (if that’s your thing).

“But one which stands out for me has to be the Chilterns ride.” West is best, it seems.

“Setting off early on a sunny Sunday, it didn’t seem possible that torrential rain was forecast for the afternoon. After a lunch stop at the barn in Turville, a few of the group headed back to Kingston while the rest took on the potential of rain and hills and hoped for the best.

“The hills in the Chilterns didn’t disappoint with more than 2,000m of elevation across the ride, but as the drizzle started, we slowly started to realise we would be in for a very wet ride home. With over 80km to go, we contemplated trains home while drinking coffee just outside Henley but we all agreed ‘we’re wet already, we may as well carry on!’

“So, on we went, powering home through Windsor and eventually making it back to wring out clothes and dry off the bikes.

“Despite usually avoiding riding in the rain at all costs, the feeling of achievement of riding more than 200km in ‘character building’ weather conditions with a fantastic group of people who supported each other the whole way, makes that ride my favourite one to date. 

“The highlight of most rides is simply being out on the bike with a great group of people. The Sunday rides give everyone a chance to chat while the faster Thursday night rides are an opportunity to really push the pace.

“I’ve learnt a lot about group riding since joining Forge this year and with so many experienced riders in the club, I continue to do so. 

“Low moments are rare and thankfully usually fleeting but I occasionally get moments of wondering if I can finish the ride and it’s at times like that the group step in to offer words of encouragement or a wheel to draft and before you know it, you’re back at the pub reminiscing!”

What makes a great ride? “Having the opportunity to ride at a pace you enjoy and the opportunity to challenge yourself, learning from the more experienced riders and exploring new routes with a friendly and supportive group of people. Good weather is always a bonus as well as trying out the local coffee and cake stops.”

And what about that dream Forge ride? “There are so many incredible routes in the UK and abroad but having done the London to Paris ride last year, I’d love to do the 24-hour route one day if any Forge Members were up for trying it.

“I’m also really looking forward to the trip away to Mallorca next year and trying some of the beautiful rides the island has to offer. But when the sun is out in the UK, every ride is a dream ride.”

Seems like miles brings smiles for Jemma.

Chilterns 202 route – https://www.strava.com/routes/18585480

Pete’s Lark Around the Park

Pete S loves his riding and since retirement, uses his experience to lead the introductory rides for potential new joiners as well as Ride Captaining the F1 groups.

“My favourite Forge ride is a ride for everyone to enjoy,” he explained. “Whatever the pace or whatever the weather, dull or sunny.” What an equalitarian sort you are, Pete.

His classic Forge route is the flat roads out from Kingston, out around Windsor Great Park, along Drift Road and back home via the café stop in Windsor town.

“The real highlight is riding along the Windsor Park perimeter Road and then the superfast and flowing Drift Road. They are lovely open roads and a real pleasure to ride on.”

“And of course, we need to stop at every cyclist’s favourite Windsor café stop, the lovely Cinnamon Bun.”

With someone always thinking of the group, it’s no surprise what he thinks makes a ride good. “A great ride is when a group are riding all together, all comfy and respectful of each other’s abilities.”

And highly experienced Pete has a few other gem rides too. “One of the best rides, if you get the weather, is around the Isle of Wight, ridden clockwise from Ryde.

“Great views with lots of different gradients along the Military Way and up to Freshwater are real highlights.

“All of the above are based on my level of cycling and riding with like-minded people.”

Wight on, Pete.

Braywoodside Bash: https://www.strava.com/routes/3081264066843261008