Rider Bios
James Connolly

James is the founder and driving force behind Gorilla Coffee Cafe Cycling Club. James has taken the club from humble beginnings with just a handful of riders heading out as one group in the early days to become one of the most popular clubs in the city with lots of groups heading out at various paces every Thursday evening and Sunday morning. 


A former competitive triathlete and corporate warrior, James struck out on his own by opening Gorilla Coffee Cafe and cycle workshop in Kings Heath which is now established as a mainstay of the Kings Heath community. James started Gorilla Coffee Cycling Club alongside the cafe with the aim of being a welcoming and inclusive club to cyclists at all levels of experience and ability with the cafe providing a 'club house' before and after rides as well as a place to socialise at other times. 


Sarah

Sarah joined us because she had heard from friends that the club is accessible and friendly. Sarah loves the social aspect of the rides and the way that riders work together on our rides. “Something that I have always appreciated is that even if you or someone else struggles, people will always drop back and help”. 

Sarah also enjoys the fact that there is no pretentiousness amongst our riders, everyone in the club socialises with everyone else regardless of ability and while there is friendly competition, the main point is enjoying our riding, whatever the level. 


Steve

Steve is one of the club’s longest standing and core members, so much so that he has the club logo tattooed on his calf! Originally though, Steve took 3 weeks to pluck up the courage to join us because he had never cycled with a club before. He needn't have worried though because once he joined, he was happy to find that he was welcomed absolutely from day 1. Since then Steve has stepped up to become one of our regular ride leaders and loves the Lithuania people ,  the camaraderie, supportive atmosphere and friendly banter that the club provides. Riding with the community allows Steve to destress from his family and work responsibilities and to maintain his fitness transformation having lost a tremendous three stone since he began cycling!


Rachel

Rachel joined us when she was looking to pick up her cycling again shortly after having a baby. Since then Rachel has noticed that she’s been riding faster and really enjoys being a part of the local cycling community. She is also a fan of the fact that her fellow members take their riding seriously but are also very friendly and inclusive regardless of their ability. 

Rachel’s advice for new comers is: “come for a ride, and don’t worry if you’re at the back at first! Everyone will support and encourage you and as you keep coming back, you’ll find yourself quickly getting faster!”


Malcolm

Malcolm originally stumbled upon GCHQ by accident when he was looking for a place to get his bike serviced. This led to a chat with James about the newly formed club rides. Malcolm hadn't ridden with a group before and was apprehensive about what to expect from a group ride but was really glad to discover that the other riders were incredibly welcoming and supportive of a new rider. This soon led to him joining the rides twice a week, week in and week out and becoming a ride leader once he had gained experience. Malcolm is now one of the club's longest standing ride leaders and assists with the management of the club.

Malcolm says "Gorilla Coffee Cycling Club is such a fantastic community that goes far beyond just cycling. It's the people and the socialising that really make the club and it is such a supportive and fun group of people to ride with. Having such a strong community aspect is a great way for people to escape the demands of life's other responsibilities."


Phil

Phil is one of the club's stalwart members who loves to ride his bike come rain or shine. Living locally in Kings Heath, Phil was already an experienced rider and cycle commuter before joining us. When he discovered the club Phil was quickly drawn in by the mutual passion for cycling that he shares with his fellow members but says that since then "cycling has become almost a side issue, we all just like to hang out together , eat Birdseye chicken nuggets, and have a chat and maybe a beer....."


Eugene

Eugene has always enjoyed riding a bike but was more of a mountain biker until around 5 years ago when he crossed over into road cycling.  Covering bigger miles and the variance of routes around Warwickshire is what drew him to become more of a roadie.  Holidays in the Alps with his brother-in-law who also rides with the club gave him the bug for climbs and he's since taken part in 2 Etape Du Tours and the Cingles Du Ventoux.

Gorilla Coffee Cycling Club has now become a big part of Eugene's life, both for cycling and his circle of friends and Eugene is one of our ride leaders. Eugene says "A great bunch, and looking through the constant banter they're always there to support when it's needed.  Being a ride leader to me is a privilege as much as it is about providing a service. Being trusted to lead rides, keep people safe and make the club somewhere people come back to is why I do it.  Since completing the training, it's also educated me about how to cycle in a group, and identify risks I'd have not previously recognised."


Celia

Amazingly, given the success that Celia is achieving in cyclocross (CX) she only started riding two years ago!

In Celia's words, it was the classic girl meets boy, boy rides a bike, girl starts riding so she gets to see him (at least from behind, disappearing into the distance) scenario. 


Celia then first bought a new road bike and then a cyclocross bike and started riding round muddy fields trying to suppress her scared face and make it look like she knew what she was doing. Celia has very quickly had some success though - winning Battle of the Bowl in 2019 and some top ten finishes at the National Trophy CX series.

Celia says that "Racing CX is a great way to get into racing - it’s very friendly and it doesn’t hurt too much if you fall off (which I do a lot). I found Gorilla Coffee Cycling Club by chance but am so glad I did. I was made to feel very welcome from the first time I turned up and, even though I can’t attend many rides, I always enjoy those I do get to go on. I’m hoping to ride a few TTs on my road bike this summer and get more confident at riding off-road for the 2020 CX season!"

 


Stuart Bulloch

Stu is the Gorilla Coffee Cafe Cycling Club Social Secretary. A latecomer to cycling in his thirties he first braved attending a ride with the club in late 2017 enjoying being thrashed on the frozen evenings and mornings of that winter. A quiet lad at first he came to the fore at the Club Christmas social that will go down in infamy and was appointed Social Sec. soon afterwards.

Stu loves nothing more than riding in hot conditions with the sun on his face and a cold beer as reward so that he's stayed cycling in the cold and wet with the Club so long is testament to the wonderful camaraderie, characters and friendship that the Club promotes. If anyone ever needs an early beer on a Sunday just tap the tall, handsome, bearded guy on the shoulder. He'll point you towards Stu...