Perhaps it’s a reaction against the rising obsession cyclists seem to have with Strava, sportives, and shiny kit – but touring, bike packing and adventure racing have become incredibly popular all of a sudden.
The idea of packing your belongings into panniers and shooting off in the direction of the sunset is obviously appealing – but many beginners simply don’t know where to start.
If that’s you, then the brand new Touring Cyclist Club (TCC) could be your new favourite community. The name sounds remarkably similar to the ‘Cyclists’ Touring Club’ which rebranded this year to Cycling UK, in a bid to better reflect its changing motivations.
The rebrand divided members, and it's clear from comments on the TCC Facebook page that the new club will be home to some who moved on from Cycling UK/CTC as a result. Founder Dennis Snape commented back in April: "Our incoming mailbox at Touring Cyclist Club is overflowing with "angry" "disgusted" "complete shock" "a disgrace" messages about the CTC rebrand, now that Cycle mag has hit the doormats."
Cycling UK (formerly the CTC) wanted its name to reflect its modern day objectives as a charitable organisation that aims to promote participation in cycling in all its forms and is often involved in campaigning for cyclist's interests in the UK. The new Touring Cyclists Club is all about touring.
The Touring Cyclist Club is not for profit, and will be run entirely by unpaid volunteers, for the benefit of its members. The founding members Rob Gullen and Dennis Snape say the club has been created to support and encourage members with resources, shared experiences and the inspiration to have fun touring on a bicycle.
Launched in autumn this year, the club is accessible to touring cyclists of all kinds: those who want to tour on road or off road, be it for a few hours, a day or even multiple days exploring the countryside, towns and villages.
The club will provide members with useful information, as well as providing a forum for experienced and inexperienced cycle tourers to meet and discuss their plans.
The website already features a forum, plus areas ready to store information on popular routes and rides, which members are encouraged to contribute to.
Membership costs just £4 and opened on August 5 and the founders say numbers have already reached the 100s with members popping up all over the place – the Isle of Wight, Aviemore, Canterbury, Belfast and even Alaska featuring on the list.
The first Touring Cyclist Club meeting will be on Saturday November 19, and will take place in Birmingham. Here it’s hoped that a core organising group will be established, with roles assigned to individuals who will look after touring and routes, GPS & mapping, promotion and club development, the website and forum.
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