CYCLING is both business and pleasure for Paul Ashman.

His business, Paul Ashman Cycling, sees him visit schools, youth groups and community organisations to offer training and advice about everything from safe riding to essential maintenance.

Outside of business hours he tries to ride every day.

An enthusiastic cyclist as a child, the former Army musician returned to riding in earnest in his thirties.

“It was about eight years ago,” he said.

“For me it was a form of exercise and a way of getting out. I’d put a bit of weight on.

“I’d always enjoyed watching things like the Tour de France on TV, and I thought, ‘I’m going to get a road bike and use it as a form of exercise.’

“I became addicted to it. I was so into the sport that I was out riding as often as I could and I was watching it on TV.”

The name of Recycles Cycling Club reflects its birthplace, which remains the club’s home base.

Recycles is the Salvation Army social enterprise which gives people the chance to learn new skills by repairing and building bikes, which anybody can then buy.

Paul said: “I was trying to find like-minded people that I wanted to ride with. There are lots of clubs in Swindon. I tried a few and had some really good rides with some of them.

“I knew Simon Styles, who is the manager of the Recycles shop. I was there one day and just said to him, ‘Do you fancy setting a club up?’

“He said, ‘Do you know what, Paul? I was thinking exactly the same thing myself and thought about having a chat with you!’

“Our inaugural ride was in October four years ago.

“I like to think that Recycles is seen as a friendly club which welcomes anybody to cycling, and gives people the outlook to get on a bike, ride, exercise, make friends with like-minded people and be part of a group which always has lots of fun.

“We are people who will support you and help you in your cycling.

“Nobody is left out. We’re at a point now where on a Sunday we have two rides.

“We have our slightly longer, faster route and then we have a slower, more medium-paced ride to cater for people who are new to cycling.

“The one thing we always say – and it’s a big thing with our club – is that we never leave anybody behind.

“We’ll always wait. At some point down the road the group will stop and wait in a safe place.

“I know of a particular club in London where every rider is high performance, high training level, race driven.

“That’s the club they are, but in our club we have all manner of people turn up.”

There are now more than 40 members drawn from many backgrounds. The club prides itself on inclusivity.

“We’ve seen quite a nice increase in female members of the club, which is brilliant.

“Cycling is equal in all aspects, but people still seem to think of it as a male-based sport, which it’s not.

“There’s always the big talk about the Tour de France. That’s always used as the big thing, that we’ve had five British winners, but when was the last time that you picked up the paper or looked on the internet and saw an article about women’s cycle racing?

“But it’s out there and it’s happening. We have the World Championships in Yorkshire this week and one of the favourites in the women’s race is Lizzie Deignan – she’s British, she comes from Yorkshire.

“But there’s no talk about that anywhere. I can guarantee that if someone like Geraint Thomas or Mark Cavendish – one of our male riders – was one of the favourites it would be all the talk.”

Things are changing, however.

“Even in the work I do in schools, which is growing by the minute, I’m getting lots and lots more girls.

“In my forthcoming half term cycling camp in October, which I’ve literally just booked up, I have more girls than boys coming.”

Anybody wishing to find out more about the club or about training and advice, is welcome to contact Paul.

His website is