Yep, we're leaving the capital. Actually, we're leaving the country altogether!
My family and I have been presented with an opportunity to up sticks and relocate to Norn Iron, the home of my lovely wife. Short story, rent prices etc are extortionate and so is the cost of living, so instead of being stuck in that vicious financial cycle, we've taken the decision to head 'home' and carry on notinthepeloton from the shores of the emerald isle.
This is not the end of notinthepeloton. I have always said to myself I will carry this
on as long as I'm enjoying it. I have found it difficult over the past year to update the site as much as I would like to mainly because lil NITP is the priority over everything. But I still enjoy writing, sharing news, reviewing and grab as many experiences and opportunities as I can.
I have been very privileged over the 4-5years I have been running notinthepeloton to take part in events such as the inaugural Red Bull Timelaps, a very successful team at Revolve24, a 2 day ride around the capital for London Revolution as well as a 3 day slog to Paris for ASTRIID. Squeeze in some cycle shows and the odd race and TT, I've pretty ticked off most of the things I wanted to do. Along the way, I have had the pleasure to meet some wicked people a lot I still socialise either face to face or over social media (that's what it's there for innit!). Special mentions must go to:
David Bavin and the Dirty Wknd crew
When I began notinthepeloton, it was really just a joke and a rival to Ali's twitter account but I really enjoyed sharing routes and writing hill lowdowns. With some very much appreciated guidance from Myles, I began to cover reviews and events of the cycling world. At one point, I even opened up an online store selling Le Col accessories before they really took off. I don't do regrets and it's still something I hope to tick off but I would love to create and sell my own range of notinthepeloton kit and accessories. One day...
I have the had privilege of covering a lot over the last few years including numerous cycle shows at the Excel, being given your own media pass was quite cool. I got to see the Bradley Wiggins talk tour at Wimbledon theatre, probably the closest I will get to meeting him apart from the time when I cycled liked crazy after a day working at a Summer camp in Weybridge to get down to Walton to see the great man in the TT. I should of pedalled faster that day or pulled a sickie!
I always see everything as an opportunity, life is full of them but you've got to grasp them and that's what I had set out to do with notinthepeloton. Along with Ali, Sam and Chris, we all took part in the very first Red Bull Timelaps in Great Windsor Park. I underestimated how hard it was going to be and ended up over sleeping. I learnt my lesson as I got to redeem myself at Revolve24 as part of a Dirty Wknd team with Chris. A great weekend was capped off with a 3rd overall.
Following Sam's racing career always gave me the itch to give it a try. I did have the fear of crashing and being out of my league but I gave a race at Hillingdon a go. A very very cold Saturday afternoon one October did involve a crash but luckily I wasn't involved. It felt like a fast paced group ride and in all honesty, I became a little bored halfway through so I moved to the front and attempted a breakaway. I say attempted because I gave up! Where I am moving to they are pretty big into their road racing but they hit some crazy racing speeds over there especially considering how lumpy those roads are!
One thing that did make me jealous each year was seeing Sam and Chris travel abroad to a nice island somewhere and cycle for the week up in the mountains where I was stuck commuting in the rain around Heathrow. I did however get the chance to ride from London to Paris for ASTRIID as part of a giant group. I would love to go back and do it all in one go or just one stopover. I also try to help along the way charities and groups to help build exposure and momentum for their very worth causes. Special mention must go to all the people at Little Lumpy who offer the best cake stops ever in sportive history and all Umme the leader and the locals at CAG (Cranford Action Group) who I have been helping with rubbish and river clean ups along my commute to school.
I can not forget though the one thing which gave the website some traction and culminated in some epic group rides. The One Series. We created 4 versions, 3 in Surrey and 1 in the Chilterns. Since having lil NITP, it's been hard to commit to long rides so the Series has stalled for the time being but it was on these rides we got to meet most of the list above. You never know, v.5 could be The One NI?!
I did manage to grab some cycling weekends away before my little protégé arrived on the scene. A tour of the Mendips with Chris and Sam was a refreshing experience especially climbing the gorgeous Cheddar Gorge. A trail weekend with a bit of camping with my two long time friends Tom and Dave in the New Forest gave me a taste of the off-road stuff. Tour of Exeter with Ali and his mate Josh including the biggest pizza I have ever eaten! But how can I not forget the weekend in Norn Iron with Ali riding the last ever Gran Fondo NI. Let's just say his taste in music and his obsession with my sister-in-law's dog showed me a different side to him! To this day, he still asks about Parker!
This all sounds like I building up to shutting notinthepeloton down. No, no, just moving location. I will be situated right near the Mournes which is a stunning area for hikes and bikes so I will be sharing routes and some very long and steep climbs from across the Irish Sea. I've been broadening my horizons into the off-road territory so will hopefully be carrying that on too.
I will hopefully be organising a farewell ride at the end of July so keep your ears open. I do have a little tick list of things I want to do before I leave this island, more gravel and to revisit some hills I haven't climbed in - well, it feels like a millenia!
Last thing for me to say is thank you to you. I will continue the site until I feel it's lost it's mojo. Our site has always been a hobby for us and it's all done with honesty and integrity. Nointhepeloton is a reflection of who I am so I am grateful to all those who have taken an interest whether it being an avid follower or you've just read the single blog. My analytics are always quite interesting as lots find my site because they're looking for the Leith Hill Octopus. Hang on, I haven't done that yet either!
Ben aka notinthepeloton