At the end of last month I went along to the inaugural meeting of an initiative in Manchester called Wheelers Brunch. It has been set up by Lorenza who writes Naturally Cycling: Manchester and is designed to appeal to cyclists who are not lycra attired, gel quaffing, speed freaks but rather those cycling as a means of everyday transport while wearing everyday clothes.
Now, while I am no lycra clad road warrior, I do ride in clothes I wouldn't otherwise walk around wearing, including; vivid breathable tops, Ron Hill tracksters, a helmet (to keep wife happy) +/- a hi-viz/reflective jacket so to be honest I wasn't quite sure how I would fit in. But hey, I believe cycling is a viable means of local transport which I want to encourage and while I do like doing longer rides plus some off road stuff my most frequent trips are commuting to and from work and going to the shops. I also like the cycling blogs written by people who I knew were going so it was a chance to meet up and....I enjoy food!
What did I have to lose? Alright, I did kind of imagine walking in to a group of wool wearing, scarf wrapped, bearded communists with multiple piercings all who stopped listening to the group manifesto and just stared and stared and stared at me till one comrade eventually stood up and guided me the door whispering in my ear "we don't have your kind here. I think you need to leave". But that was just my own insecurities and wild imaginings coming to plague me. I actually had a great time, especially considering I had not met any of the people there before and I don't really do group things very much at all.
We met at Odder on Oxford Road in Manchester and after some initial stilted conversation and introductions we migrated to a space larger enough for the seventeen (I think) people who turned up. I sat next to Lorenza and had a lovely chat (for she is a lovely person as far as I can tell). The food was good, the group conversation flowed pretty well and I was soon looking forward to the next brunch meeting. I didn't really learn anything new, or contribute anything substantial but it was great to be in the company of some like minded, interesting and personable individuals. I hope the group goes from strength to strength and I for one will certainly be brunching again (shifts allowing!).
If this is news to anyone and you are interested in coming along to the next meeting then it will be on Saturday 26th February, venue yet to be decided but somewhere in the Manchester area. More information and a sign up to a mailing list here. Go on, we're very friendly really.