Jersey has produced some top cyclists over the years, representing the island on the international Commonwealth Games stage and winning dozens of Island Games medals.
But a local social cycling club is now hoping to inspire more islanders to get on their bikes and discover the joy of cycling in our beautiful Jersey scenery, without the pressure to pedal like Bradley Wiggins or lead the way like Chris Froome.
The Jersey Rouleurs encourage riders to participate in their group rides without any pressure to go fast, race or have ambitions of anything other than enjoying the ride… oh, and coffee & cake.
And now they’re welcoming electric bikes (E-bikes), which are fitted with a small motor to help with pedal-power propulsion, into the fold as well.
The Jersey Sport CEO Catriona McAllister, pictured above in a rather garish yellow snood, recently became the first E-biker to join the group on their rides.
“I have really enjoyed the experience of riding regularly with the Rouleurs and myself and my E-bike have been made to feel very welcome,” she said.
“I knew I would struggle to keep up on the hills but really wanted to have the social benefits of riding in a group. It’s too easy to talk yourself out of it when you ride alone but being part of a group that is so supportive and genuinely want to help get more people on bikes is great, it inspires me to get out every weekend.
“Riding an e-bike helps with the hills but you still get all the benefits of being active and they are a fantastic way of getting people to take up cycling or to get people back into it. No matter what level you ride at or type of bike you ride, the Rouleurs has a group for you. For me it has also been a great way to meet new friends having recently moved to the island.”
The Jersey Rouleurs itself won’t get involved in racing, they leave that to the other clubs in the island, but say their passion is the race bike, riding it at a pace to suit them and enjoying the company of those around them.
Ride captains at the front and back of the groups make sure that nobody is left behind, whilst still maintaining a steady pace, and with E-bikes now accepted maintaining that pace for some islanders might now be a bit more straight-forward.
“We are opening out to E-bikes in an attempt to welcome more people onto two wheels in a social environment,” said Jersey Rouleurs organiser Ian Williams.
“Many people use E-bikes for commuting and still don’t see them as anything other than a tool. They don’t see the health benefits of social interaction and being in the great outdoors despite having this piece of equipment that makes it all very accessible, we are trying to break down some of these barriers.
“The E-bike has a limited speed which is very similar to that of the Rouleurs group and as such it is natural that we should welcome these bikes to our group, as long as the E-bikers wait at the top of the hills for us!”
Jersey Rouleurs meet every Saturday and Sunday at the Radisson at 08:40, for a ride at about 09:00. The Radisson provide ‘charity’ coffee for which riders pay £1 per cup. Currently the Teenage Cancer Trust and Jersey Hospice are the collection pots.
To find out more, please visit the group’s website – www.jerseyrouleurs.co.uk