Cycling club riding – Is there value for you?

Cycling club riding is not worth the effort?

You don’t have time.  You’re in training.  You don’t feel well.  You don’t want to push it – you need to be someplace after the ride. You don’t want to pay to ride. You don’t know anyone. You cannot imagine how all those riders safely ride together. You aren’t sure you’re fit to ride or too fit to ride.

 

In your defense – Those were several reasons why you may not want to join a cycling club or try a group ride.

Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do especially when the ‘conditions” are not quite what you would choose. You’ll know when it feels right to join. You’ll want to at least ride once as a guest. You can think about it before you take your next ride and join. So what circumstances lead up to you considering cycling club riding?

For me, it was a couple of weeks after my “Easy Riders” group ride. Checking my calendar and excuses , I knew the following day was going to be a good day for joining a club and take on my second and more challenging ride. By challenging, I mean that by my current definition:

  • Using more than my two favorite gears getting out of the “big” chain ring for the smaller on a few more hills.
  • Not knowing how I fit-in; Will I be in a group of those who don’t exceed 12mph or will I be the only one?
  • What’s a “trip sheet”? Will I see people I know from the “easy” ride earlier in the week?
  • I want to exceed beyond my opinion of my riding fitness.

You will undoubtedly concern yourself, as I did, some details prior to the ride. For example, what is a:

  • Ride leader: club member who volunteers to design and test the ride for the group http://www.bikehikers.com/ClubInfo/RideLeaderInfo.php5
  • Trip Sheet: Also termed Cue sheet or route sheet, it is a print out of “list view” directions for your group ride route indicating street names and turns.
  • D30+ … What does this mean for YOU? Even though the club has a clear “key” for its ride ratings, you may feel the need to connect with the ride leader in advance.
  • Recreational riding is not necessarily leisurely.

 

What the group rides accomplished for me, beyond what I imagined, was to acquire a new member perspective.

Current members warmly bring you into their “home” culture. They want you to feel comfortable choosing your way to become apart of their “family” culture. Your choices are welcome and respected: Would you like to be a ride leader, take on a leadership role, help with administration or be THE ONE in charge of the club’s annual ride event? — There are so many elements to consider in club organizations.

Of course you must know that every rider is an independent cyclist; one who has personal limits, demands, thresholds for endurance, and strength. One who is having a good day or one who is working on making it better.

Perhaps you ride often and hard because you have consistency, you like physical fitness challenges, and it’s your stress relief -or is there something else?

 

Choosing a cycling club suited for you is important.

Explore a few that seem to be a good fit and “try-on” a few group rides. You’ll find it’s like shopping. With a demo, you can see it work, touch it, ask questions without a sales pitch, and find out where you can find it at a price that is best for you.

Here’s a quick list of 7 “plus” elements to check out before you join a cycling club:

  1. Regularly scheduled Guest speakers
  2. Safety
  3. Advocacy
  4. The club’s focus
  5. Range of rides
  6. Membership demographic area
  7. Organizational leadership

Try this – Look at your top 10 reasons for hesitating to ride with a club. Treat them as excuses and use them to make a list of ideal elements you need in order to consider becoming a member of a cycling club organization.

 

Sponsored group rides – 10 Reasons to join a cycling club:

  1. Meeting people who choose to be active doing what you love to do and perhaps intriguingly so they do it for reasons other than yours and in ways
  2. Compare what others are riding and what equipment makes their ride work for them.
  3. You may find, surprisingly, that most of the riders prefer the basic and uncomplicated; even though gadgets and technology are critical and help make riding more efficient and safe.
  4. Conversation is always at the ready but you’ll notice that several in the group will spend some part of the ride, with their own thoughts.
  5. They are never short on genuine encouragement and noticing special qualities about you.
  6. There is visibility in numbers!
  7. The club comes with a local and bike community reputation.
  8. It is so easy to connect with any of the leaders in the organization and members at large are interested in sharing their contact.
  9. Morning and evening rides are scheduled well in advanced and seldom cancelled so you are able to “pick” up a ride when it suits you.
  10. They have end mileage incentives and awards!