May 26, 2014 at 7:13
Posted by Rachael Woolston
Bikes, beers, barbeques and baking, Spin Up in a Brewery may have been set up by men, but this event works for men and women. So girls, get it booked in your diary for 2015…
Biking is a bit of a new thing for me. I was forever on a bike when I was a kid, but never thought of it as something that you could do as a sport. Playing at being the police out of Chips, the old 1970s cop TV programme, on my Concorde racer was as serious as I got.
My cycling might have developed past my the age of 12 had I not then been brought a white ladies fold up up shopper to ride to school. Not cool. Particularly as I went to school in Croydon.
But being lucky enough to be granted a media entry to last year’s inaugural Ride London 100 got me back on a bike. In fact, on a proper road bike for the first time ever.
Unfortunatley, Ive hardly been on a bike since, so I was nervous about the prospect of how fast and ‘cycle clubby’ the 15 mile ride out to the Dark Star Brewery in Partridge Green would be.
Paying just £8, you can choose to mountain bike in a group or join the road biking crew. The road bike group departs from the fabulous new Velo Cafe on the recently developed Level in Brighton, before taking a series of country roads (road bike route) to the brewery.
The ride was led by the cycling group, Brighton Mitres, (one of whom, I train in our HIIT Men camps – Weds and Friday, 6.30am). They did a good job of keeping the groups together during the ride.
It meant that, while you could enjoy a good ride, it was not so fast that it became a day of competitive cycling and one up manship decided on who had the best bike. Of which there were a LOT.
Either that, or no one was being THAT competitive because there were beer tokens hidden along the route. Go too fast, and you’d miss them completely.
We arrived at the brewery after about a two hour cycle, just before the heavens opened and we made it into the brewery. This had been set up with hay bale stacks for seating amongst the steel beer barrels.
There was a cake stall, Mr Bake, with cakes clearly made for male cyclists, being the size of a brick and probably containing the same amount of calories that it would take to build a house (and NO, that DOES not mean that being a female cyclist I like cup cakes). Of more interest was the Roller Racing.
Sponsored by South Coast Sprints, this involved two cyclists going head to head on stationary bikes (the back wheel on rollers) for a 250metre sprint.
Having arrived and tucked straight into a pizza and a pint of Dark Star Hophead ale (you get one free voucher on arrival) the thought of getting on a bike and doing an anaerobic bike sprint in front of a crowd of mainly male spectators did not appeal.
But my HIIT man client, Simon, who ‘enjoys’ two mornings per week of me telling him to sprint while being held by a resistance band, or squatting his body weight, saw his chance for revenge and signed me up (a brave man, seeing as how he still has quite a few HIIT Men sessions left with me).
And actually, it was a lot of fun. I made it to the top of the female leader board, where I stayed for a while until someone told me I’d been beaten by a 13 year old girl.
Hurrah to that, I say. It is great to see young girls and women being sporty. I would have been extremely worried if someone younger had NOT knocked me off the top spot, for what does that say about the development of women’s sport? It was bad enough when I was going through school and I was the lone female basketball player at my school. I’d HATE to think it’s still like that 20 years on.
But Spin Up in a Brewery, is not all serious sport or cycling. It’s about the beer, the seriously good BBQ, and the live music. Thankfully, the sun came out warming up the mountain bikers who had arrived after us, looking like they’d been in the trenches.
This is a seriously good event. For £8, you get a guided ride (pay a little more to get transport back – but book EARLY) a voucher for a free beer, competitions (where I also won a Morvelo cycling jersey) PLUS a goodie bag containing a free beer, t-shirt and stickers. Which I promptly gave away, admittedly. Me in a beer tshirt. Not really my thing.
But I will be back next year. Now, can I get one hundred women to take up bikes by May 2015? www.spinupinabrewery.com
If you are interested in mountain biking or road biking, we will be leading a series of free guided rides throughout July and August training both for the MTBEpics and Stilletos on Wheels events. For more details sign up to our newsletter.
If you are interested in sponsoring a developing women’s riding club, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org