As we say hello to a fresh new year 2016 we at Ride Bikes Wales reflect on the cycling moments in the year gone by.
There's been plenty of high points and some low ones too along the way, but we're glad to have shared the ride with our friends..
2015 didn't kick off to the best of starts, with a foam-pit related injury at Cardiff's RampWorld leaving Stu out of action for a couple of months... he took a while to live that one down!
Meanwhile, RBW's Beth was heading down to Maindy Pool Cycle Track on those dark winter nights with local cycling club Pontyclun Flyers. This is a great facility available to hire out at a reasonable price, and ideal for practicing group riding skills. Tom started off the year in style, competing and winning the Pembray MTB series sport category- Kudos! (Image credit: Short and Round)
Spring saw the start of the road biking season proper. Stu (now fully recovered from his encounter with the foam pit!) along with a few friends of the shop took on the cobblestones in the Tour of Flanders in April...
In May, Beth and Stu supported the local bereavement charity '2 Wish Upon a Star' annual charity cycling event, 'Wickets and Wheels', taking on our first ever tandem bike ride. As ever, a fun ride for a great cause!
June brought with it Time Trialling season! The RBW team enjoyed taking part in quite a few events, including the TT organised by Ogmore Valley Wheelers Cycling club. Special mentions go to Kari Jones and Chris Jones who joined Tom, Mike and Stu in representing Ride Bikes Wales. Thanks to the Wheelers for organising!
The longest day of the year saw the longest ride of the year, as Stuart and 6 others took on the '7 Ride The Severn' ride. The team cycled 210 very memorable miles following the river Severn from its source in Dylife all the way to Cardiff in just one day- amazing! Well done Julian Morgan for organising!
In July, Stuart, along with club members from Pontyclun Flyers headed to Saint Jean de Marienne to embark upon L'Etape du Tour, stage 19 of the 2015 Tour de France, taking in some epic climbs through the Alps along the way. Here's a few of them enjoying some well earned beers afterwards!
Summer is not all about the road, as Alun shows us. Here is is enjoying a bit of the MTB on his Trek 9.8...
Beth completed her first 100 mile sportive in September, taking in some beautiful early autumn views in the New Forest with Stuart (and somehow managing to get rather lost- drifting 20 miles off course- oops! Thanks to the lovely marshals for getting us back on track!)
The last view months of the year have been dominated by one thing for us: Welsh Cyclocross season! There are too many great races organised by so many dediacted local clubs to mention, but we enjoyed every single one of them no matter the weather. Can't wait for next year!
This is the hardest part to write. December brought with it some sadness also, as a friend, fellow cyclist and dedicated supporter of '2 Wish Upon a Star' charity, Stuart Bates, sadly passed away along with his little boy, Fraser. Their loss is felt not only by his wife, Anna, their little girl and their family but by all those in the local cycling community who knew Stuart, and many more people in the wider public who did not.
Out of this tragedy some good has come already, as tens of thousands of pounds have flooded in to his Justgiving page, raising money for '2 Wish Upon a Star' charity bike ride which Stuart was due to complete in June 2016. Anna Bates has since set up another charity called 'Believe' which will support families in making decisions on organ donation- this has also raised several thousand pounds already. The Team at RBW send their heartfelt sympathies to Anna and the family and best wishes for the new charity growing and making a difference to others in 2016....We Believe x x x
For more information on the work of '2 Wish Upon a Star' please visit http://www.2wishuponastar.org. 'Believe' charity is in the process of being set up: Watch this space....