George’s Big Fat Review Of The Year

Well… that was quick! I thought I’d run you through some of my cycling highlights from the last 12 months. It’s been a year of smiles over miles – it’s not that I haven’t ridden my bike (I’ve ridden loads), but it’s been at a much slower pace than the year before.

Spreading the love of two wheels

New forest Gravel cycling

I met my partner Sam in 2021, so a big ol’ year for me! Perhaps what came as an even bigger shock is that she didn’t know how to ride a bike! We quickly changed that, she’s now a certified cyclist. She’s become inseparable from her Bristol Bike and it’s now her daily form of transport. Commuting across Bristol every morning no matter what the weather, and more often than not, smiling through the rain and laughing into the wind. You can read about the full process of teaching Sam here.

Hanging with the cool kids in the New Forest!

The New Forest is UK gravel cycling central. It’s pretty rare to get uninterrupted gravel tracks in the UK; most are littered with gates or only run for a mile or so before you hit the road. The New Forest allows you to live your gravel cycling dream and ride on endless forest tracks surrounded by grazing ponies and weekend holiday-makers. The Woods Cyclery is a local bike shop famed for their shiny custom builds and exotic looking adventure wagons. Every year they put on the Grand Rando… a fancy name for what is essentially a camping weekend with a couple of rides thrown in. Sam and I took our trusty Bristol Bikes down for a romp around the woods. With great cycling, mixed weather and tasty food, it was one of the highlights of the year!

We went on tour

So, no, we couldn’t fly anywhere this year, instead holidays became much more local. Sam had a real baptism of fire this summer: hot on the tail of the Grand Rando we set out on our week-long bicycle tour. From Plymouth to Ilfracombe and then back to Bristol. We both look back on this trip with fond memories. Memories that mainly centre around lots of eating, some rather large hills, and seeking refuge in a B&B after a typical Exmoor drenching. We are now spending our winter evenings planning the next one!

I got a new bike!

This was a big one. I love my old bike, we travelled far and wide together both fast and slow, but as distances got longer my yearning for something nicer grew. My new Fairlight Secan is a beauty! I’ve been waiting since February for this one and it’s certainly been worth it. Light, comfy and fast, it’s ready to eat up the miles. Eyes on next year and some bigger challenges (not sure what yet, but I’ve got itchy feet). Fear not, my Bristol Bicycle is still in the garage and comes of for camping trips, day rides and shopping runs.

Watched a lot of cycling

I’m unashamedly a lycra lover (yep, I said it!). Watching bike racing has been a lot of fun this year, from the grim mud-fest that was Paris – Roubaix to a tactical masterclass of the tour de France, it’s all been exciting stuff! On top the normal world tour, dot-watching has been fun pastime. Nothing beats the feeling of watching riders suffer from the comfort of your own home!