Mark Beaumont, who earlier this year set a new world record for the quickest journey by bicycle from Cairo to Cape Town, says that middle-aged men in Lycra ‘are a turn-off for new cyclists’. The adventurer argues that those who take cycling too seriously and think that it is all about competition can be intimidating for newcomers.
“Cycling clubs have their place. If you want to be a pro cyclist and be spotted then that’s great. But people who are new to cycling tend to think the sport is all about competition and wearing Lycra and taking it all very seriously.
“People, and I think especially women, are intimidated by these Lycra-clad weekend warriors. I know I was and I came to cycling through a different route. I want to help people realise it’s not just about that — that cycling can be just a bit of fun and can be part of your lifestyle.”
The aim of Ride Social is to form groups of similar-ability cyclists for fun rides. Cyclists can visit the website and create a profile that allows them to join and create bike rides in their local area.
Beaumont, former holder of the Guinness World Record for the quickest circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle, smashed the record for riding the length of Africa from Cairo to Cape Town by 17 days earlier this year, completing the 6,750-mile journey in 42 days.
Since then, he has ridden Scotland’s North Coast 500 route, a 500-mile trip through the Scottish Highlands that he completed in under 38 hours. The ride was the longest he has ever spent in the saddle without a break.