Rider interview: David Bavin

Velo Hols have teamed up with Dirty Wknd for the Gran Fondo Costa Almeria trip.

WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?

My name is David Bavin and I’m the co-founder of Dirty Wknd Cycling Club.

WHAT'S YOUR CYCLING BACKGROUND?

I grew up in South Norfolk where everything is miles away and the only way to get around was by push bike. All of my friends houses were about 10 miles away so we cycled everywhere. There’s also not a lot to do as a kid in the countryside, so entire weekends were spent out on a BMX or mountain bike with a spade, digging jumps and making dirt tracks. I’ve been racing motocross since the age of 4, so mountain biking, and then road cycling, was an extension of this and became a way to train. When I moved to London in 2006 I quickly bought a cheap fixie as travel was too expensive as a student. Zipping around town, venturing out into the countryside exploring and riding in groups was what gave me the inspiration for Dirty Wknd.

FAVOURITE RIDE & SEGMENT?

Favourite ride is a tough one. As an organised ride/sportive I would say Ride London. I’ve done it 3 times and it’s always a great event. The real beauty of it is in how much confidence it inspires in people. We get a lot of very novice riders coming to us to train, having signed up for the ride without much experience. Watching people train hard for the event, transforming into great riders along the way, is very cool. They’re like different riders afterwards. The best ride I’ve completed would be either London to Nice in 2014 or a 6 day tour of Scotland in 2015. Both epic rides in different ways, but Scotland is my favourite place to cycle.

Favourite segment has to be a climb as I’m rubbish on the flat. In London I would have to say Swains Lane as we train there a lot. It’s a really tough climb and perfect for hill reps. 5 reps is a great work out. However it’s hard to look past Sa Calobra in Mallorca. There’s just not another road like it. Also, when we take groups out to Mallorca and tell them they’re going to ride up a 10km, 7% climb, they pretty much laugh in your face in disbelief. Then watching them complete the climb, often in under an hour, the sense of achievement is amazing. Again it’s a huge confidence booster!

CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT DIRTY WKND AND HOW WE CAN GET INVOLVED?

Dirty Wknd is a cycling club and community, one which is quite different from many others. We call ourselves a social club, one that focuses a lot on beginner riders and newer cyclists. There are loads of clubs out there, but they can be pretty intimidating for new riders. We try to be the opposite of that, and make sure that everyone feels welcome, even if they’re coming along in trainers on a hybrid bike. We also have a really high percentage of female members (roughly 60/40 female to male), which is pretty unusual for a cycling club. 

Our beginner sessions are a great way for people to start, as we teach them the basics and group riding etiquette. We also have plenty of more experienced riders who are doing amazing things, and we’ve got a group of male and female members who are starting to race now, which is awesome. My favourite thing is watching the journey people take from brand new rider, to competent road cyclist. It takes no time at all! Also we call it a community because it’s a great place to meet like minded people and make friends. I love hearing stories of people who have met on our rides, and then moved in together or started dating. And I love it when I look at strava and see that a small group of people who met through us have gone out for a ride together, completely independent of us. 

The best way to get involved is to come and join a ride. You can try us out before joining as a member, and we have loads of levels for all types of rider. If you’re unsure at all you can always email us or msg on social media (below).

WHAT MOST EXCITES YOU ABOUT VISITING VELO HOLS FOR THE GRAN FONDO COSTA ALMERIA?

So many things. The Granfondo itself is going to be epic - its not often you get the chance to ride 200km in the beautiful Spanish sunshine. I also can’t wait to spend a week riding spectacular roads and climbs with members of the club. It’s always much better doing these types of rides with some mates! That and the beach party after the event - the social element of cycling is very important to us!

3 TIPS ON PREPARING FOR A GRAN FONODO?

1. If you can, recce the course and ride parts/all of it. Especially the climbs. If it’s a foreign granfondo like Almeria then it’s not always possible, but you can study the route and profile. Make a note of where the climbs are on the course. Stick some tape to your top tube and write it down, but the last thing you want on a long ride is to be surprised by a climb. 

2. Join a cycling group/club. I’m a bit biased, but I think anyone who knows anything will tell you to join a group. You’ll learn loads just from being around other riders, you’ll push yourself harder then you ever could on your own, and you’ll get extra motivation from the group. Cycling is a team sport!

3. Ride your bike! A lot. It’s obvious, but the more you ride the better prepared you’ll be. Try and find some climbs that replicate the hills on the course and go out and ride them (it’s hard in this country because our climbs just aren’t long enough. In this case do hill reps). And try to ride the distance a couple of times in training. If you’ve only done half the distance before then you’re really going to suffer at the end of the ride as your body won’t be used to it.