In Search of Stoke all started on 31/05/2017 with this picture, a Ribble R872 at Manchester Airport waiting to board flight SV124 to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Although at the time, I did not know what I was searching for….

Prior to this, cycling consisted of commuting 10 miles to and from the office in Lancashire a couple of times a week if the weather was conducive, and the occasional charity event. I had no idea what cycling was about. 

I thought this would be easy, I should have known better – my learning curve was as steep as my first hill, “Bastard Hill”. It went well. Climbing what I thought was ‘the’ hill I managed to snap a chain on my brand new bike, and I was sick at the side of the road. It was not ‘the’ hill; it was not even a hill according to the guys. Undulating was the word they used in between my heaves.

Despite ending the ride in a world of trouble, contemplating what the resale value of my bike would be to a limited market with a new chain and 17 miles on the clock.

My overarching feeling was what an amazing Friday morning, the views and countryside where beautiful, my lungs and legs were on fire but it felt great, and what an exceptional group of supportive, engaging, and funny people – friends had been made.

I had found stoke!!!

Since then there have been four new bikes, about 5000 miles ridden, and 200,000ft climbed, all In Search of Stoke.

*Stoke; Happiness, Exhilaration, Peace of Mind, Joy, Elation, Euphoria, Optimism.