What a day it was for our inaugural Fustle Family Ride Out! To say we were a little overwhelmed to see so many bikes roll up to our headquarters in Bangor, Northern Ireland would be an understatement. After several months, we finally managed to get a date in our calendar for a ride out and extended the invite to local customers who fancied joining us. Whilst we may have spent a lot of time around bikes lately we must confess that not a lot of that time has been pedalling them so we were pretty excited to get out.
Sat 10th September was in the calendar, a quick post to Instagram and Facebook and instantly we were receiving messages from folk across the country who have purchased Fustle bikes. One of the first to arrive was Geoff who cycled short of 50 miles (before our 20 mile route) then decided he would ride home again... We really must try harder!!! We had Darren Tapp making the trip up from Fermanagh, a few folk from Co. Armagh, Co. Antrim and lots of North down crew who cycled over to meet us before heading off at 10 am sharp.... Well it would've been 'sharp' if Jonathan Bradley arrived on time with pedals on his bike, we will forgive him though as he is REALLY good at custom painting frames!
We headed towards the reservoir at Conlig which is just a short mile or so away from our office, straight onto the forest paths and fire roads that lead to Helens Tower. After catching our breath 'because there is a pretty big climb if you've not been pedalling much', we did however take the bad look off ourselves by snapping photos whilst secretly willing the heart rate to drop, so we could at least hold a conversation.
From the Tower we followed the Ulster Way path that leads all the way to Helens Bay joining the North Down Coastal Path. Everyone enjoyed taking in the awesome views of the Irish Sea before a quick Coffee and well deserved scone from the Woodlands Cafe, situated in the Crawfordsburn Country Park.
We hit lucky with the weather and as we all sat outside in the sunshine enjoying our coffee 'even the wasps joined in', it was very apparent that the group were really enjoying themselves, and the chat was flowing. On a personal level we thoroughly enjoyed the general banter and camaraderie...
I think overcoming a difficult few years off the back of COVID-19 it's very clear to see that it has left it's mark on all of us in some way or other. Zwift, virtual rides and Zoom, FaceTime chats have their place but chatting to someones 'actual face' and blitzing along an 'actual trail' is truly a breath of fresh air, unless you're gasping for air keeping up with the group!?
Someone jokingly came up with 'Fustle Family Therapy' sessions... Whilst we laughed and joked about this, in many ways getting out with friends and/or like minded people doing something you love really is the best therapy. If we could bottle the feelings after a ride out and sell it would we still be making bikes though!?
Absolutely we would!!!
On the return ride there was lots of chat about the next ride out, we will get another date in the calendar soon - rumour has it Gosford Forest park could be the next venue so watch this space.
Thanks to everyone who joined us, we had a ball riding with you and we look forward to seeing you all soon.