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  1. #1
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Tips on joining a bike club?

    After a week of cycling, I'm hooked. But I don't want to ride alone the rest of my life. None of my friends cycle, AFAIK, so I am thinking about hooking up with a bike club. Couple of questions:

    How much mileage should i be accustomed to before i join? Having just started, 10 miles at 15 mph 3-4x a week is just about my speed. Should I wait until i can do 20 milers or longer comfortably (so to speak) before I join?

    Is it your experience that when you ride with others (club or no) you ride farther than you might otherwise?

    Are there clubs that will take curmudgeons like me (54 years old) into the fold? I'm in the San Diego area, if anyone knows of something there to recommend.

    Is there anything else to the club experience I should know about?
    ...
    Visit my blog! The Leadership Almanac
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  2. #2
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Gary:

    I know SD is a very active bike club area. AAMOF, one of the guys I ride with here in the St. Petersburg bicycle club is from that area, and he was the founder of the St. Valentine's Masacre ride which is an annual event in your area. You should be able to find a club like ours. We have club rides on all levels every day of the week, and sometimes morning and afternoon. A good example is our Saturday morning ride. We have the following groups:

    Training ride (very fast - over 30 mph), 26, 24, 22, 20, 18 mph rides. Also, for beginners, we have the daisy pickers which itself is divided into two levels. Bottom line, there is a ride for anyone from stark beginner to Cat 1 competitor.

    You will find that riding with a group really adds to the riding experience, and know that it is much easier to ride in a group than solo. Through the phenomenon of drafting, one can ride much faster than one would be capable of riding solo.

    Do a local search, and have fun! Oh, and yes, prior to riding with the group, you might want to be sure you are very comfortable on your bike. Also, when you do ride with the group, make it very clear that you are new at group riding so that you can be placed appropriately, and coached.
    Last edited by skydive69; 06-16-05 at 02:50 PM.
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  3. #3
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    After a week of cycling, I'm hooked. But I don't want to ride alone the rest of my life. None of my friends cycle, AFAIK, so I am thinking about hooking up with a bike club. Couple of questions:

    How much mileage should i be accustomed to before i join? Having just started, 10 miles at 15 mph 3-4x a week is just about my speed. Should I wait until i can do 20 milers or longer comfortably (so to speak) before I join?

    Is it your experience that when you ride with others (club or no) you ride farther than you might otherwise?

    Are there clubs that will take curmudgeons like me (54 years old) into the fold? I'm in the San Diego area, if anyone knows of something there to recommend.

    Is there anything else to the club experience I should know about?
    ...
    Clubs can vary quite a bit in terms of their experience and intent.

    I.e., around here we have the Rocky Mountain Cycling Club - this is one you would NOT want to ride with. They are fast, aggressive, and start at about 50-60 miles.

    On the other hand, we have the Denver Bicycle Touring Club which has rides designed specifically for newcomers, and is a much more relaxed group of people, generally.

    We also have regional clubs (geographic) such as the Highlands Ranch Bicycle Club - sort of a potpourri, and Team Evergreen - they would blow you away.

    Generally they have web sites which state the purpose of their rides and their schedules. Generally, if a club states they will average 13 miles per hour, they will really average about 15 mph, and if they state they will leave no one behind, they generally mean they will leave almost no one behind. If you are really slow, you generally end up on your own.

    Go to several local bike stores and ask them about clubs in your area. Do a Google search for clubs in your area. Also, there are several national and regional directories of bicycle clubs, which you should stumble across in your Google search, or perhaps others here will volunteer.

    Several of us here prefer riding solo - you go where and when you want, set your own pace, stop when you want, blow your nose when you want, etc. Nothing wrong with being a solo rider.

    I did my first club ride when I was 59 yo. I no longer do group rides.

    Probably most club rides will be 15 miles or more - but you will surprise yourself in that with the group you will go further (farther?) than you think you might.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 06-16-05 at 02:54 PM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  4. #4
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Addendum:

    Now that I am leading rides for our senior's group at our church, I have sort of started my own informal bicycle club. However, that is on my own terms!

    We TRULY leave no one behind, and we don't worry in the least about average speed. You would be welcome and would enjoy the rides. Move to Denver!
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  5. #5
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    Bike clubs vary quite a bit, and a city such as yours should have something for everyone. Not all clubs are hammerheads, check out this list and see if you can find a match for your riding style, and ability. http://efgh.com/bike/clubs.htm

    Good luck, and enjoy this great sport/exercise/social outlet!!
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

  6. #6
    Calamari to go cc_rider's Avatar
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    As everyone has said, clubs vary. Around here there are more than a dozen clubs ranging from a few members to many thousands. Some are training oriented, some are more social. The biggest club, PPTC, usually has a couple dozen rides every weekend, with at least one at every level from D to AA. Talk to your local clubs and see if they ride the way you want to.

    When I do club rides, I like to ride the class above where I really am. The rides are more challenging. I just ride it at my pace and ask the others not to wait if it looks like I'm holding them back. I'll finish when I finish.

    You might also look at sponsored bike events and supported rides. Some of these are multi-class and have a choice of different route lengths. They are self paced and if you can't finish there is a support wagon to take you back to the beginning.

  7. #7
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Gee. Go to a local bike shop..pick up "Soutern California Cyclist." given away free..lists all bike activities in So Cal for two months time. Lists all bike clubs in your area..
    in your area you have both touring and racing groups..More into touring. think the group is called something like San Diego Bike touring group. contact numbers will be listed in Southern Calif. Cyclist. met some of that group once...recreational riders. not hammerheads.

  8. #8
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone! I'll let you know which group turns out to be the best fit for me. Thanks for all the advice.
    Visit my blog! The Leadership Almanac
    2012 Masi Evoluzione
    2009 Specialized Globe Vienna 2

    Proud member of the original Club Tombay

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