Coasting down a long sloping descent, wind gently pushing you on towards a small village where a coffee and a bun awaits you. Your legs are pain free, your mind clear and your spirit light. Cycling doesn’t always have to be about pain, suffering and line outs in the gutter and for a lot of cyclists it never has to be about these things.
Leisure Cycling has become something of a phenomenon of late. All over Ireland, group rides can be seen leaving from every town and village on a Sunday morning, with all shapes and sizes, ages and people from all walks of life, taking to the road and embracing whatever the elements and the chosen route can throw at them. We do this because of a love for the bike, but also of the great outdoors. What better way to see the Atlantic Drive than by bike, savouring the breath taking views, tasting the salt from the Ocean as it sprays up onto a cliff face, seasoning the air with its flavour as you cruise past. What better way to enjoy the breath taking views from atop the Wicklow Gap than by cycling there, earning the view with each pedal stroke and all the time, sharing the experience with a like-minded person.
This is not to say that leisure cycling is all about taking in views and liberal coffee stops. A Leisure Cycle can often turn into antithesis of its name. My mother has been often heard to say, upon returning from her ‘Leisure Cycle’, ‘I dropped them on the hill, but they caught be on the descent, can you take me out descending to make me faster….’
Leisure doesn’t simply mean easy or slow. It doesn’t always signify a short cycle or exclusively represent cyclists who don’t shave their legs. It represents us all, we are all Leisure Cyclists, because no matter who you are, or who you aspire to be, from a National Champion to a complete novice, we all truly, deep down cycle purely for our own ‘Leisure’.