Maybe the Opera Stole all their Vowels

I came across this whilst disappearing into a christmas-shaped smartphone k-hole of child supervision:

It’s really something. In fact, it’s right up there with the cycling collective in terms of commodification and monetisation of the great outdoors and free activities and basic social or human functions.

ride free

I’m intrigued by the proposition. Last time I checked, riding your bike was free. Not just the first time you ride it, but the next time, and the next time. Having a bike and friends is the gift that keeps on giving (not that gift, that’s a different gift which I wouldn’t dare describe on a prudish blog like this) and if you haven’t got easy access to chums then there are lots of clubs and informal groups which freely extend the fellowship of the road, for FREE. Failing that, you can do what I do, and plot a route carefully, or even just go out the door and ride. There is no toll gate at the front door.

Oh wait, fuck that, why don’t you just cough up and pay these charlatans to lead you on a merry dance around the suburbs of London’s famous London.

WTF is this

Not quite sure what it is that costs £5 here. The group safety briefing? The coffee you pay for? Not being dropped? Thanks – that’ll be £5 for us to wait for you. We really care. We’re prefect (sic) for beginners.


The three two readers of this blog may treat this claim with a degree of scepticism; but I try to be honest and open to new things. I am a welcoming person. Just witness my kindness towards the latest in a long line of pro-kit wearing backmarkers to cross my path. I can do this. However, this kind of larceny is utterly horrid. Genuinely, it’s a heist. It’s the zenith of metropolitan capitalism, where every single thing is absorbed and monetised, a pound sign slapped on it and a package created to sell to those people who don’t believe it can work on largesse alone, there must be a fiscal contract in order for it to have a real value.

I think there’s also an irritating subtext which gets on my tits. It’s the view that somehow ‘traditional’ clubs are an anachronism, out of touch with the modern world. They are a closed shop and somehow intimidating. This is also a pile of bollocks. The myth of the ‘no drop’ rule; it’s a crock of shit. No-one gets dropped, ever, unless they are expressly informed prior to the ride that if they get dropped no-one is waiting, and that’s because it’s a chaingang and is going at 26mph for 45 miles, and if you go on one of those without a clear head and a clean pair of cleats then you’re asking for trouble. It’s called training for racing. These are rare, and a closed shop, invite only. The noob sits at the back with the tritards in case he starts playing domino rally. Every other club run ever is a friendly, welcoming affair.

I’m sure that people do enjoy this and gain benefit from it, but not as much as the founders do in taking the corporate pound. If they are that keen on getting beginners riding and showing how wondrous they are, then they should lose the price tag. Speaking of k-holes, every click reveals a deeper layer of doublethink and corporate slurry.

wtf 2

Each click brings new layers of virtual horror. “The first truly social cycling club”. Let that roll around for a bit. Really. Roll it around your douchehole, pay the £90 for a year and get each ride for £4.95 instead of £5.00. What a bargain.

9 thoughts on “Maybe the Opera Stole all their Vowels

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  1. More importantly if I join this exclusive cycling club can I wear my Rapha kit or do I have to pay more wedge for the clubs exclusive rip off China dogma dong super pro kit with Clima chamois ?????

    So love you pj when you are on a new year cycling extravagance lol let that pen flow and those keys tap as you smile

  2. Actually I think it is a cover story for a cyclist dating site.

    And what if you ‘accidentally’ rode the same route at the same time, would the marshals tell you to f-off because you haven’t paid your £5? A rolling gated community!

  3. I too can understand your disdain/contempt/outrage. It’s for London people who don’t have time to find a proper club or riding group, develop relationships or do stuff for themselves. They want instant everything and don’t mind paying extra for the convenience.

    But it’s not entirely bad. If the smiley faces in the photos are anything to go by it’s doing something good for somebody and getting people out on their bikes.

    1. Of course you’re right, and it’s the age old thing of getting people on bikes is good. Ergo it’s not entirely bad.

      But… The method in which things are done is equally as important as the outcome. I think this is the integrity question. This entirely lacks integrity, and for me, that invalidates the project. It doesn’t invalidate the naievety of people, necessarily, although people will always pay for things through think make them better, and there is far less daylight between them and me than I’d care to admit.

      But… It’s integrity, and it’s values, and I resolutely reject the values underpinning this project. The exploitation of social feeling and cycling for monetary gain, as a business model. It’s up there with all kinds of loose shit we could all do without.

      1. I think it is just part of how a significant number of people conduct their lives in somewhere like London, even though I bet many of them would prefer it to be different (especially those who have settled there after growing up in a much more relaxed culture, as my sister did nearly 30 years ago). It’s one of the compromises they have to make as part of living in such a hellhole.

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