Its with sadness and a tinge of regret that Cult Racing is going to be wound up and closed down.
It comes as no surprise but like anything that has been a big part of your life, you quietly hope it will go on forever. Cult Racing, for me, is no different but I am realist and its the right time to shut up shop and move on.
I opened the shop in 2009 amid the height of the financial crisis and despite a pretty awful start (a saga worthy of an episode of EastEnders in its own right lol) I worked hard and saw it through to profit within its first 3 years. Which, given the start it had, was pretty good.
The shop rides became an integral part of the shop. The first ones used to leave at 7.30am on a Saturday morning. Only the hardcore turned up, freezing occasionally and we’d do some evening rides in the summer too. At some point, which I can’t remember, the rides moved to the later time of 8.30am which attracted a host of new riders and two groups sprung up. A/B, Fast/Slower, whatever we called them it didn’t matter. 2hrs of great riding with my mates and back to the shop for coffee and cake. It was a bit of a ritual although it did grate I had to then go to work for the rest of the day while most pootled off home to chill lol.
On the racing front we had some boy racers and a womens TT team which was a bit ahead of its time in the ‘famous’ pink kit! The racers continued to race after the shop closure until quite recently. I raced for a few years but retired when the shop shut. I tried a comeback but it didn’t work out. My cycling priorities had changed. ie I got old lol
I have some great memories of riders and some of the rides we did over the years. Wind, rain, ice, crashes, some quite serious. The A group became a smashfest at times which I was both guilty of and a victim of in equal measure. We had it all on those rides and I would like to thank each and everyone of those friends, as I think of them, for the support while the shop was open.
The smashfest would often finish down Cut Throat Lane, quite a fitting name for the end of the ride!
Sadly, times got tough for cycle retail, and in 2015 and I came to a crossroads where I could take on more debt and hope I saw it through another tough year or simply pack it in. I chose the latter which I don’t regret as the business was tough but I do miss the shop, the bikes, the customers, the riders and all the niceties of owning a bike shop.
When the shop went, the shop riders and racers decided to keep the club going. At the start we met, we had ideas and we set about making it happen. Sadly my personal circumstances changed and being the kind of de-facto chief of the club because of its connection to my shop I couldn’t attend or influence the club when I needed to. A small band of members continued to meet and ride but the A group fizzled out and the B group continued to ride and called it a Cult ride only because that what it used to be. Looking back I regret that but my head wasn’t in it after Gaye died and it took me a couple of years to fall back in love with the bike fully. Ironically, I’m ready to commit now but its too late. But that is fine. Life and people move on, I will too.
To end the club on a high, we have money in the bank to spend. We’ve decided to do a social night, one last ride and donate any remaining monies to charity.
The social is a Curry Night on Thurs 31 Jan @ 7.30pm at the New Dilshad International, Alvechurch. Let me know if you want to come, I’ll book the table a week before. The meal will be paid for excluding drinks. There will be a small raffle too.
The final Cult ride will be on Saturday 16 Feb @ 9am at Cafe Morso, Alvechurch. The cafe opens at 8am so if you get there early you can have a free coffee before we embark on a ‘classic’ 80km Cult route using much of the roads we used to do including a ride past the old shop. One group, two groups, on your own. It doesn’t matter. The A’s (my group) will average 18’s, if any other riders want to do their own with us or not and meet up after thats fine too. Its totally informal. Afterwards we can get a bite to eat somewhere tbc which will be paid for.
Any remaining monies will be donated to charities we decide at the Curry Night. Then thats it. Done.
Thank you to all my Cult friends, staff, customers, colleagues and peers for some great memories. See you on the road!
A lot of Cult pics went with the shop’s Facebook page. If you have any, share them. I’d love to see them. Share your memories too. Always nice to remember good times.