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Old 03-23-04, 04:50 PM   #1
DEK
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Cycling Clubs

I'm thinking about joining a club as my riding partner and I have differing schedules that make it almost impossible to ride together anymore. I've heard people rave about clubs and complain. So, I was wondering what everyone's experiences are - the good and the bad.

Thx
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Old 03-23-04, 05:34 PM   #2
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Good - the one I ride with the most. The leaders will stop and wait for the followers to catch up. No one gets left behind. Most of the riders carry cell phones and we have set of mobile radios in the club.

Bad - the one I don't ride with alot. The leaders keep on going and the followers try to finish as best as they can, sometimes all alone on the road. Not cool!
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Old 03-24-04, 11:25 AM   #3
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Good--- Friendly people who will wait for you, if you can;t quite keep up. For me, I like a group with different abilities... some days I feel like I wanna hammer, some days I feel like I want to cruise along with the pack, and just be friendly...

Bad--- Unfriendly people, who never wait. And if they do wait for you.. they get all disgruntled about it, like you are messing up their training... another thing I hate are cliques in clubs... now granted, the hammers usually hang together a bit more, and everyone kinda sticks with who they know... but I rode with a club 3 times, and only like 2 people even made an attempt to talk to me... even when I tried... I quit them quick...

jeff
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Old 03-25-04, 12:23 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info. I was hoping for a few more responses.

Another question: Has anyone joined a club but quit later because they decided they didn't like it?
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Old 03-25-04, 12:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DEK
Thanks for the info. I was hoping for a few more responses.

Another question: Has anyone joined a club but quit later because they decided they didn't like it?
See above^^^

It all comes down to where you fit in... there are clubs in my area that are total hammers, and I know for a fact that I can't hang with them in the long run.... that's fine with me.. I jsut don't ride with them....

For me, I like a club with people I can ride hard with, and have a good time... I'm not training for the Tour or anything... I'm just looking for some good exercise, maybe some people to challenge me a bit, and an enjoyable day out on my bike...

I'm not gonna hang with a club with bad attitudes

jeff
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Old 03-25-04, 12:47 PM   #6
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The clubs I've been a member of have a variety of rides and other services.

On Tuesday night you are expected to be able to hang with a very fast group on lightweight road bikes and if you get dropped you better know your way home. If you join the Wednesday @ 6:00 group, you can count on having your hand held even if you show up on a Wal-Mart special with flat tires. Other rides run the gamut. There are also "show and go" rides where there is no leader established; the people who show up work out a plan and go from there.

Also, in some clubs, you can participate in rides before you join. If you do join, the commitment is very small. I believe I pay $15.00 per year to be part of my club.

I'd recommend asking at your local bike shop to see if they have a flier with ride schedules or contact people for the local clubs.
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Old 03-25-04, 02:50 PM   #7
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I would start by saying experiences are the good and the bad. I have "joined" in a couple of group "show & go" rides, one group no one spoke to me but they didn't speak to each other either so I didn't take it personally in the least. The second group which I will most likely join, would meet in a parking lot for a Thursday night ride, where I was always going with my kids. We would see them they would say hi, we would ride together, and have a good time. Although they meet as a group before they split up into smaller groups where some take the road routes, and some take the bike trail. In the end they meet up again for dinner at one of the eateries. They are the group for me, very sociable, with a leave no one behind attitude. They meet for several other adventures/activities during the winter.

For me the choice is clear, I want the group that advocates for biking and is more sociable. The group that can accomodate me on a road ride when I don't have the kids, and myself with the kids on a group ride at a more recreational pace. One club, both purposes. But that's whats right for me, some folks would prefer the group that is based more on driving performance and less on socializing.

I also suggest the show & go rides mentioned above, that's how I have decided on the group I have decided on, and will be paying dues at the next meeting.
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Old 03-25-04, 03:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MERTON
wouldn't it be better to just ride with friends?
Funny thing is WHENEVER I am riding solo, EXCEPT on those cold winter nights, I always manage to hook up and ride with someone. Have managed to meet some really interesting people on my rides, including a guy who toured most of Europe by bike. For me the concept of joining a club is to have an "IN" on the fun stuff through newsletters and such, as well as the advocacy of clubs that can be beneficial.
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Old 03-25-04, 03:20 PM   #9
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DEK,

The first thing you have to ask is what you expect to get out of the club. Are you looking to train for racing or are you looking for a social group ride? Also, most groups will let you ride as a guest. Try riding with a club a few times before making your decision. Who knows, maybe club riding isn't for you.

SteveE

P.S. I joined both a racing club and a social/touring club. I ride mostly with the racing club but do social rides on occasion.
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Old 03-25-04, 04:26 PM   #10
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i'll counter with: your experience depends on you and the real reason to join a club. for me, i wanted to ride with better riders. there is no better way to improve than to ride with better riders. knowing that, i expected that some rides i'd get dropped. hard. i do expect either a written route to follow or it is always nice when a ride has a no-drop rule, but i don't think that is realistic/. some will have a clean up team of 2 or 3 riders to hang back and see that everyone is cool. other clubs have both A and B groups that start at the same time then seperate - and you'll find something you like.

i always ask how fast the A ride is and how fast the B ride is. 3 summers ago i kept showing up for these Sunday AM rides, and got dropped from each and every one of them....while the group wasn't chatty, i gained valuable drafting experience and group riding experience. i finally hung for a long 60 miler towards the end of the season and one of the guys noticed i was still around and said "look at your cycle computer. have you ever avg'ed 20+ mph over 60 miles? nice job" then others chimed in that they always noticed me and thought it was great that i still came out week after week and that they were always rooting for me. i learned that everyone gets tired and are sometimes too wrapped up in their ride to talk and hang out. THAT IS WHAT THE SOCIAL EVENTS ARE FOR --like the off season rides that end at a bar...

That is just one club experience. i still love these rides. i didn't seek their approval. i only wanted to ride better. they ride fast on the weekends. there is no judgement on my part. and i loved it. even while getting dropped every time.

now i hang near the front and keep up. i use it to gauge my strength. there's no way to fake it out there.

i love the guys who hammer on mountain bikes, or the tandem that sets the pace.

sometimes i ride with slow rides to just enjoy the ride.


bottom line

good: know what you are in for and to improve/know not to get discouraged

bad: depends on your attitude and ride times.

there is no shortage of rides and groups in the chicago area. i could join a different ride every week and never duplicate a ride if i wanted.
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Old 03-31-04, 02:56 PM   #11
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I don't belong to a bike club, although maybe I ought to. I belong to the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates and the California Bike Coalition, which aren't clubs but advocacy groups. I ride mostly solo or with a buddy. My buddy is a former Cat 1 racer who's now getting back into Masters racing and he introduced me to the fast training rides in town.

The one I usually join is the Saturday morning River Ride. It leaves from City Bike Works in Midtown, heads to the Sutter County line about 20 miles away on the levee road. It attracts about 40-80 riders, mostly racers and wannabes like me. You'll see groups of clubs and independents.
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Old 03-31-04, 03:11 PM   #12
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This is a good question for me too b/c I have been thinking of joining one up. I have a friend that runs a list serve among friends where we post social rides mostly , after work or some such thing. BUt I guess I am not much of a social rider. I would rather ride hard and talk later. Plus I find a lot of social rides end up being talk about bike equipment and gear. I am looking for club ride so I can get group experience for crits this season and there just does'nt seem to be one around?
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