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pro rider cycling

prorider cycling

painful though it is to admit, the velo club suffers muchly from a lack of definable ambition. that may not be specifically true on an indvidual basis; one or two of our number have been known to enter a sportive or two, but collectively, you'd scarcely hold us up as paragons of velocipedinal virtue. this is not to deny that speculative conversations have not taken place of a sunday morning; jura has received more than its fair share of mention and we have even considered a weekend expedition to the island of arran.

this notable lack of ambition is demonstrably visible in the fact that conversing is pretty much as far as it's got. though individually we may have had a pub meal or two in jura's solitary hotel in craighouse, the pelotonic visit has yet to take place.

as a less than notable fact, our lack of apparent motivation is scarcely worthy of mention, but by comparison with some of the visiting cyclists who have joined us recently, it verges on the embarrassing. while trying valiantly to impress with the kilometres that have passed under our wheels over the previous weekend, the riposte seems invariably to consist of rides in tuscany, provence, belgium, the french alps and even the spanish side of the pyrenees.

you have to admit, a quick perambulation of loch gorm, taking in the phone box at carnduncan, scarcely compares.

prorider cycling

the off-putting factor, certainly from a personal point of view, given that i do not own a motor car and would really rather not drive, is not just the faff of travelling from here to the mainland avec bicycle, but the increased level of faffing that follows when attempting to travel further afield. though i may be in a minority wishing not to try manhandling a race bag containing more kit than strictly advisable along with a not altogether minimally sized bike bag, the fact remains that so doing threatens to undermine the joy to be had on arrival. to say nothing of attempting the return journey.

you see, very little in the way of foreign travel is particularly scottish-centric. a few years past, when attempting to book a flight from either glasgow or edinburgh to marseille, the sole option was to fly to london and wait for anything up to 19 hours for a connection to france. perhaps surprisingly, there are no direct flights from scotland to cezanne's favoured part of the french nation. but our nationalistic woes may have now been at least partially remedied with the surfacing of prorider cycling. though involving no air travel, prorider cycling features a state of the art coach rivalling sky's deathstars and a trailer in which that fragile and exorbitantly expensive carbon fibre can be safely transported.

as with many cycle-related enterprises north of the border, prorider cycling involves the almost ubiquitous brian smith, twice british road race champion and currently gaining an enviable tan as a eurosport pundit on the giro d'italia. a scottish-based venture such as this is all but unheard of; what was the premise behind setting up shop?

prorider cycling

"I was approached at the end of last year by a friend who had set up Prorider with a colleague. They had come up with the idea between them and just needed someone experienced in cycling. The idea was unique and interesting, so I thought 'why not?' To make it easier to take your own bike on holiday in Europe in the comfort of a luxury bus is a great idea. Airports can be so stressful."

mr smith is a busy fellow, with a finger in a number of pies that have cycling written all over them. aside from an uncanny knack of being able to read a bike race from more than 50km out and a neat line in on-air punditry, he has what might be described as an entrepreneurial spirit, which would probably be why he's a busy chap. however, this is not a solo venture.

"My role in the set up of the company was through my experience in cycling. Both Kieran and Paul have an interest in the sport, but don't have either the contacts or knowledge I've gained over the years. However, between us we have the right combination of experience to deliver that which we are promising. It has taken almost a year to put the bricks in place to deliver something quite unique in cycling."

though it's an episode of which i am not proud, and i'd really rather you kept this to yourselves, after attending a concert in strathclyde university student union many years ago, when driving home through glasgow city centre, i took a turning the wrong way down a one-way street and met a parks of hamilton coach coming the other way. parks are a sizeable coach hire company based in hamilton near glasgow with links to almost every part of scotland, so their involvement in this venture, along with that of caledonian travel would suggest that prorider is a predominantly scottish enterprise?

prorider cycling

"I don't think we are setting up just as a Scottish enterprise, but due to the relationships that Paul has in the Glasgow area, it has all pretty much fallen into place. Paul lives in the Glasgow area and currently works with Parks of Hamilton so it was a bit of a no-brainer to have them involved.
"Both Parks and Caledonian Travel have considerable experience in the travel industry, so this made it much easier when setting up this new project. There's no point in reinventing the wheel when we have experienced companies that are as excited about being involved with this new concept as we are."

which sort of leads me back to the sunday morning peloton. as the years roll by, aside from our highlighted lack of collective ambition, we're much more likely to be swayed by any venture that makes life simpler. and an advertised departure from buchanan bus station in glasgow city centre counts as simpler. but in truth, who would brian consider to be prorider's target market?

"We want to attract cyclists from all areas of the sport. Initially we have geared up for road cycling, but we're currently looking at MTB along with shorter trips to sportives and track events. We have kept the price of our packages down to attract the masses, but made sure that everyone is well looked after. We have a luxury bus with a bespoke trailer to carry the bikes. We have both clothing (Endura) and nutrition partners providing all customers with a set of kit and nutrition for their trip and enough luggage space to avoid the dreaded overnight luggage costs of all major airlines."

if i conducted a quick, one-off poll amongst those currently reading, regarding bike-specific mechanical abilities, i figure there would be fewer 'yes' hands raised than who me? i'd expect a similar response from those who might have a clue as to how to conduct their own training needs. so after transporting the great unwashed across the english channel, will they be left to their own devices on arrival?

prorider cycling

"We are testing the market at the moment, but looking at adding some things to our 2018 packages. This may include current and/or ex-pros. When you have bus full of 40 cyclists it is hard to define what every customer likes, so with time we will look at adding on different things to look after the needs of all our customers.
"We have already talked about mechanics and massage therapists, but there's a perceived need to get the basics right first and foremost. We'll have the basics covered on the mechanical side and have a company representative on each tour."

in my experience, however, in any collection of cyclists comprising more than one, there will be an individual who knows everything there is to know about programming super-record eps or di2. but to return to the aspect of prorider cycling that first brought the venture to my attention; departure points. does the combination of brian smith, caledonian travel and parks of hamilton mean that a scottish departure point was a primary consideration?

"We want everyone to have access to this new business in the UK; start in the north and travel south. I always found it difficult to access Europe directly from Scotland in my youth and i know with cycling's popularity in Scotland and northern England, many cyclists will now have access to this service without the dual problems of airports and the transportation of their bikes. We have planned pick-up points the length of the UK, so access is available to all"

there's no doubt that all the above provides great enticement for the intrepid cyclist of northern domicile, even those of admittedly little ambition. but in order that at least one or two of the rides at point of destination might just confer a minimum of bragging rights, will mr smith be on board the happy bus?

prorider cycling

"Currently i have many commitments that would make that difficult, but I'll definitely be looking at the possibility of joining some of the trips. I don't mind travelling in a luxury coach because I know the atmosphere between fellow cyclists will be good. The travel will also provide the opportunity to build new friendships with like-minded people.

The biggest plus from my point of view, is that the stress of travel is taken away, plus the knowledge that my bike will not only be safely transported but will definitely be there when I arrive. With airlines increasing their costs for travelling with sports equipment it makes this all worth it. We have spent a lot of time choosing destinations and hotels to make sure our customers are happy.
  "So what are you waiting for? Book now and enjoy riding your own bike around some the best roads in Europe without the usual stresses of travel!"

prorider cycling

sunday 21 may 2017

twmp ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................