Let’s be clear we are not your average cyclists, in fact there is very little average about any of us.
For a start we don’t look like your average cyclists with some of us weighing in on the higher side of above average! However, we do make quite an impression in full flow and in full pink!
That is probably unkind on Barry who has slimmed down from a huge 13 stone to about 10 stone soaking wet.
We started the ‘Man or Muppet’ cycling group several years ago having struggled with another local group who in the main were very good cyclists. Being left behind on several occasions we felt it would be better to form a very small group of cyclists who cycled purely for pleasure.
MMVT (Man or Muppet Velcro Team) was formed and under the leadership of Barry (Glorious Leader) the group has gone from strength to strength.
In short we are a group whose watchword is acceptance oh and non-conformance. If you’re too big for your Lycra or your bike is old or you are rubbish on hills or cycle clips scare the crap out of you, you’ll fit in perfectly.
To identify a group of non-conforming cyclists Barry undertook the challenge of designing a team kit. Using the latest in technological safely advancement, apparently the eyes on the kit make drivers take notice of you, in a similar way to a cardboard cut out of policemen prevent shoplifting. I also suspect several large men clad in pink are easily noticed.
The kit has come to epitomise everything we as a group stand for. If I had a pound for every pretentious cycling snob who looked down their nose at us I would not be anywhere near as wealthy as if I had a pound for everyone who shouted “go Muppets”.
A couple of years ago I decided whilst in the Pyrenees to ride the infamous Tour De France climb the Tourmalet. The climb of 4,500 ft is notoriously difficult and I knew it would be a big ask.
I was passed by several cyclists at the start of the climb all of whom looked at me very strangely. About half way up I was joined by a local cycling group 70 in total with ages ranging from 13 to 75. They kept me company for most of the way exchanging conversation and encouraging me up. After while I stopped for a break and let them go on. A little later as I reached the top of the climb I was met by a standing ovation and 69 French men and one Irish man (they get everywhere) cheering and shouting “muppet”.
A heart warming moment and I still smile at the old French chap who came up to me shook my hand poked men in the chest and said “you finish Tourmalet you man not muppet”
As a group we accept everyone and anyone regardless of ability as long as you like cake you are in. I guess it’s no surprise that many of the people who join us go on to become great friends and also get involved in the charity work.
There have been several members who have gone on to become excellent cyclists and it gives us great pride that we have been able to give these individuals the confidence to progress.
As for the other local group that I mentioned earlier, they are going strong and now have some great people who have helped develop local cycling. I’m a member and enjoy cycling with them when I can. They are a good bunch but on balance I will always be a muppet!
The reluctant cyclist
We are raising funds for Leonard Cheshire disability, Marie Curie, Hope house children’s Hospice and Crohn’s and colitis.
All donations will be gratefully received.
Wrexham to Gibraltar Charity Cycle Ride