Do you need help?
Find out local help available to get you back in the saddle, to improve your confidence or get your bike ready to ride.
Donate your unwanted bike to be shipped to Africa and buy quality refurbished bikes at modest costs.
Colchester Cycling Campaign
For advice on what bike, local bike shops, routes beyond Colchester, Bike Drinks, local campaigning and much more.
CTC Cycle Champions
Regular, gentle rides, cycle confidence sessions, bike maintenance and lots more - welcomes families.
Does your school take part in the Essex Eco Race? If not check out this free and exciting initiative to promote active travel to school.
Ben Paton is a life-long cyclist. “My uncle did cyclo-cross,” he says, “and ultimately I think I have to give him the credit for getting me started as a club cyclist.” Ben is a member of Colchester Rovers and Amis Vélo, as well as a Dr Bike and cycle coach.
P: Tell me about your experience as a cyclist, and your proudest moment.
B: My first race was the Smirnoff International at Harlow, when I was just 10 or 11 years old, and my proudest achievement was getting a bronze medal, behind the Soviet Union, for the Team Time Trial in the World Student games in 1990.
I used to do quite a lot of racing around East Anglia. We did Sunday races on small industrial units, but then Sunday trading put a stop to that, as the car parks weren’t available any more.
Then I started doing some time trialling and grass track racing with Colchester Rovers, alongside the cyclo-cross and criteriums. I’m also a founding member of Amis Vélo, a small, sponsored cycle team that competes in cyclo-cross and cross country racing, through to road racing and time trials.
P: It sounds like you might have quite a few bikes?
B: Yes! My first one may still be at my Dad’s. It was a cheap, heavy sports bike with steel wheels. My wife says I have too many bikes! I’ve got an old fixie; and a frame which my grandfather bought me – it’s getting on for 30 years old but has great sentimental value as I won several important races on it. And I have quite a few competitive bikes.
P: How about your family, are they keen cyclists too?
B: Well, my wife and son do cycle – but my son, he’s 13, and he’s more into football and rugby! As an incentive to cycle more, I got him a bike for Christmas from Re-Cycle, the bikes to Africa charity, he loves cycling to football training and we are hoping he will start cycling to school a few days a week after the half term. I do enjoy coaching, and I started helping out at Colchester Rovers a few years ago with their grass track. I also did some cyclo-cross sessions for the kids. They are amazing, some of them are only just off stabilisers!
P: How did you come to be a Dr Bike?
B: I used to encourage work colleagues to cycle to the office, and I got a small toolkit and a track pump so I could help people in my team. When I was made redundant, I decided to start a mobile bike repair service. The HR Department helped me apply for some funding so I could do the Cytech 2 qualification, and I had contracts with the University, as well as supporting community events in Greenstead, St Michael’s, Castle Park and Tiptree.
Cyclo-cross races typically take place in the autumn and winter, and consist of many laps of a short course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike while navigating the obstruction and remount.
A criterium is a bike race held on a short course (usually less than 1 mile), often run on closed-off city centre streets.
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Hand made bikes, bike maintenance and fresh coffee
Cycle around Essex and collect stamps towards a free slice of cake!
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Friendly community bicycle workshop offering drop in sessions twice a week
Friendly community bicycle workshop 1st and 3rd Saturday each month