It all started as an 80’s bmx kid. Spending many a weekend trying new tricks and taking the train to Southsea skate park. Then came college and cycling became just a mode of transport for a poor student.

Not sure how I became what my wife calls a ‘spandex warrior’ as getting past baggy shorts took some persuasion, but approaching the big 4-0, and sports like football and squash were taking their toll. Try cycling they said, an non contact sport that won’t leave you crippled for days after (provided you don’t fall off).

After a few months riding around local routes generally getting lost, I became curious about the local cycling club. So one Sunday I rode down to Baddesley cross roads and got chatting to another Sotonia newcomer… Things escalated quickly from there and every Sunday was soon filled with adventures around Hampshire, Wiltshire and Sussex… wherever the ride leader took us. It was certainly incentive not to get dropped in the middle of nowhere with no idea how to get home.

Then there was the kit. One bike followed another (who knew you needed more than one?) The point where a £300 bike seemed expensive to a £3,000 one being a bit cheap is lost on me right now but it happened!

Tried road racing, and wasn’t very good at it. Discovered cyclocross and was hooked by the muddy winter battles, (and more kit of course).

Six years later and the pastime has definitely become more of a way of life with Sotonia. Helping a new road race team find it’s feet and then go on to find such success has made me very proud of our club as has the challenge of training as a youth coach to then see a new generation get the cycling bug… can’t wait to see what’s next!

Jez Hart