The idea of an amateur or local cycling team is not new, yet the number of amateur and local cycling teams has increased tenfold over the past few years.
The most worrying thing to come out of this trend is the fact that it, wrongly so, puts emphasis and strain on the friendships initiated in and developed out of cycling.
Over the past few years there have been a number of “defectors” to other teams. I put defectors in quotation marks as it’s not true to the sense of the word.
I should know. I was one.
Whilst cycling has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on (and has been responsible for) a large number of my friendships in addition to Instagram and Facebook photos, it has also had a profound negative effect- from my decisions and the decisions of others. The friendships built within cycling seem so much more fragile that those built outside of this scene and worryingly so.
Friendship groups within football clubs, nightspots and works places usually welcome an abundance of ideas and views with little retaliation or dramatic reactions to the different interpretations of what people believe. Should a player wish to move teams, an employee to move jobs and so on, the leaving individual is wished nothing but good luck – sure this is not always the case- but in my experience, the friendship is well maintained.
I’m not one to recite history and quotes, but as so eloquently put; “change in all things is sweet.” To wear a different kit, to wear the same kit, to wear no kit! To expand a friendship group, to learn more about something, everything is a fantastic endorsement of why change is good.
Equally, and opposing to the above, if you are on a sweet thing, maintain and enjoy it. The sweet thing is not the bike you ride it, is the people(s) by which you surround yourself.
After an overdrawn and somewhat public spat, I’m happy to say that my friendships, evolved from cycling, have been repaired. Are they back to the way they were? No, but they are well on the right path. Maybe I can attribute it to the fact we are all a little older and a little wiser. However I’d prefer and believe that we missed the company, the friendships and the reason we became mates in the first place.
Finally, and most importantly, don’t make decisions based on your emotion. Once the storm blows over you may regret them… you may not – but I feel safer banking on the former.
In cycling terms; we all need a big group ride. We need to be respectful of each other’s views, values and choices. It’s not the kit you wear, the bike your ride or what “team” you’re on – it’s the fact that the two wheeled machine between your legs is the common ground, the reason you started talking to the person you’re currently half wheeling and the reason you will continue to wake up at 5am to race to the coffee shop with your mates.
Don’t let cycling ruin what it built for you. Embrace it. Maintain it. Who knows, you might just go back to enjoying it… and each other.