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  1. #1
    Senior Member digger's Avatar
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    Forming a bicycle club (or thinkin about it)

    I recently moved out of the city to the country and it is now not convienent to go into town to ride with the bicycle clubs there. Sooo, I am thinkin about starting one of my own here.

    I have seen cyclists around, waved to them, but never had the chance to talk. So I know they are there. I was gonna post a notice around at all the local shops (grocery store, barber shop, hardware store, etc) and the like to see how much interest there would be in it.

    Although forming a bike club isn't rocket surgery I would like to know of some tips or tricks to get started.
    I was wondering if any of you guys now of any web sites that discuss how to form a bicycle club or if you have formed you own clubs and what you did to get interest. I have found some, but they give little info.

    I guess right now my plan, like I said, is to post a query to who would be interested and to call me. If I get enough interest, I will go the next step to find a meeting place to talk about what we do, where we go, what to call ourselves, etc. Then to draw up a plan for routes, meeting times, places, etc.

    I don't plan to have an annual fee, but if I start up a website, newsletter, brouchure, etc then yes, I guess I would have to start an annual fee. But, that's waaayyyy down the road. For now, my idea is a loose bunch of guys and gals riding together 2, maybe, 3 times per week, for fun, some to train for races no doubt, but mostly for fun.

    Anything else I should be doing? Or consulting?

    Thanks
    Digger

  2. #2
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    I think it's a good idea.

    I'm not sure I can give you specific tips, but I can tell you how my club, the Irregular Cycling Club of Montreal, was formed.

    Earlier this year, I was talking to Enrico and Gustavo, my main cycling buddies, about getting some bigger group rides together. It was actually Enrico's idea, and we thought it was a good one. The problem was that some of the better-established clubs in the area -- the Beaconsfield Cycling Club being the prime example -- are a little... er... bureaucratic.

    We arranged a big group ride [well, not HUGE, just a half-dozen guys] in March and concluded that if we had a ride schedule and some kind of way to keep people informed. we could probably attract more people to our rides.

    So I set up a club Web site at communityzero.com [inspired by Velo's cycling community -- thanks, Velo] and we started scheduling specific rides. We now have two rides scheduled every weekend -- a "social ride" of 80-100 km with an average speed around 25 km/h starting at 9:00 am Saturdays and an "epic ride" [centuries and the like] with average speeds of 30ish km/h starting at 8:00 am on Sundays.

    The social rides are an opportunity for people who aren't at top-level yet to get out and ride with the group and for the hardcore to get a good recovery/LSD ride and the Sunday rides let us go all out. Sometimes there are sprints and attacks on the latter, but the rule is always to keep the group together or regroup at certain points.

    We invite friends to join us, and they invite friends and so on.. and so on... On occasion, we've been out at someone tags on our paceline and if he/she seems friendly enough, we extend an invitation. When we ride with other groups, we'll sometimes let people know that we exist, and there are a couple of LBSes where we're known.

    As it stands now, we have about 15 members of varying levels who turn up for rides, some more frequently than others.
    when walking, just walk. when sitting, just sit. when riding, just ride. above all, don't wobble.

    The Irregular Cycling Club of Montreal
    Cycling irregularly since 2002

  3. #3
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Velocipedio.... Not sure.. Your community cycling web site- is this posted with your internet service provider? 'Community Zero.com' is your service provider. ? I have thought about this same action in my community.. My provider is locally based... Asked them, they wanted more fees than I felt this service was worth...
    Would not be out of the question for a community based internet provider to offer a community bulletin board. This service is not widelyutilized in my area and not worth the high fee they asked, I thought....
    One idea always occurs to me- if cyclists you see on the road in your hometown would 'wave to one another' and not act as if we don't share a need for the road- our common thread ; we would find a need to wave to one another and form a club to protect that right and maybe even ride together, when so inclined. !

  4. #4
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    There's always a problem with any club. I've been involved in several. You need a hardcore to keep it going - but not at the expense of it becoming a clique, as that'll discourage people from doing no more than look at it from the periphery. Sharing the route planning is a useful thing I think. If I joined a club, I'd reckon to put no more than 4 hrs into a day personally, as I do have other things that need my time at the weekends. Regular meets are also not so good perhaps. If you aim at a specific 'youth' sort of setup you probably may maintain a once-a-week activity as there is an inherent buddy factor built in, if you get my meaning. If you want a broad spectrum age-group you'll be planning for different levels of fitness, age, enthusiasm, available time, and other variations.

    Also check your local regulations. There may be legal requirements for registration, insurance, affiliation etc. An ad hoc meet might not qualify, but considering the number of people you might attract, there could be some things that might bite later.

  5. #5
    Senior Member digger's Avatar
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    Thanks for the help. For now I only want it to be a group who meet for a common interest - cycling. That way we can, over time, develop our own little comunity, share ideas, train, have fun, get together in the off season for skiing, snowshoeing, and off-road winter riding.

    The cycling club I was involved in back in my old hometown HAD a website but for information only regarding ride times and location, few pictures, what the club was about - really a one page website. There WAS a registration fee and insurance, but unless you where a tri-athlete and attended the special training times, you didn't have to pay the fee. We would meet on Thursdays and Saturdays and decide where to ride and how long. Which was frustrating because you never knew how much water and food to bring, how long you where gonna be gone, etc. I would still like the informality of that but just a more defined route which can still remain flexable.

    I just see a few cyclists around, who are obviusly at differant levels, just get together. Makes it a tad safer and fun for everyone.

    I am sure that IF this thing grows we can get into insurance, registration, affiliation, etc but that is so far down the road yet....

    I havn't even posted a query as to the interest yet. Baby steps, must take baby steps. Right now I am looking for ideas on getting people interested in forming a small group. But I guess if they are cyclists, and read the poster, they are either interested or not. If I saw such a poster I would be interested. There may even be a group already formed I just don't know about it.....but I have never seen group rides here other than 3 guys on road bikes once.

  6. #6
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have the right things in mind. Taking it further, I'd see how your mates feel about it. It's always nice if a club has ideas other than what it was started for. I think as long as you are realistic about individual and group expectations you'll establish a base to work from. Looking further down the line, you need to guard against factions developing, but that'll only be the case when it grows to a larger number. By that time, you'll have to replace the discussions of where you ride over a pint of beer, with a more formal organisation that tries to structure events.

    For now, go for it as a social between mates but with an eye open for increased involvement. Adverts in shops (LBS might be a good place to go) may catch others who want to do the same but sort of wait for others to get it going. If it's with mates at the start you'll know the relative distance, riding styles, time duration that everyone is used to. If others join later, you'll need to plan a different set of criteria. I once joined a road club many years back. I kept cramping on my first ride with them and I soon fell behind. I got back to the meeting point last, and only my car was there. All others had gone. I didn't expect everyone to fall back to my pace, but I certainly expected the group leader to see what was going on ahead and behind. Needless to say, I never went back.

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