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Old 05-23-12, 01:13 PM   #1
Jeff91
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Local bicycle clubs...yes or no?

I just started riding, and I don't really have anyone to ride with consistently. In my home town, as well as where I go to college, there are local bicycle clubs that do rides together and have monthly meetings. Do most of you guys participate in your local clubs? Is this something I should consider doing as a new rider? I was looking at their ride schedules and they seem to schedule rides of all types (trail, road) and of different speeds (12-14, 14-16, 16+).
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Old 05-23-12, 02:09 PM   #2
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Try it!

Different people like different things. Different clubs are different. (All obvious.)

For many people, riding in a group pushes them more. It also could be an opportunity to learn stuff (like skills/techniques/routes).

Usually, you can try before you buy and the dues (if there are any) are typically low.
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Old 05-23-12, 02:18 PM   #3
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I tried a couple groups/clubs before finding 2 that I like to ride with regularly. Give it a shot. If you don't like it you don't have to go back.
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Old 05-23-12, 02:34 PM   #4
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You won't know until you try it. I love riding with stronger and more experienced riders. Conversely it is nice to help out new cyclists.
I have two clubs. One is a bunch of friends who like to climb mountains on road bikes. My new club is a racing club but I joined during race season and have not ridden with many of them outside of the races I have been in. Colorado has a packed racing calendar.
I am also fairly introverted and enjoy my weekday solo training rides.
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Old 05-23-12, 02:59 PM   #5
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Many cycling clubs are strong advocates with state or city level government for cycling. This includes proposals for bike paths, regulations to increase safety and any issues of concern to those of us who ride bikes. Many clubs also provide safety instruction to young people and nooby cyclists of all ages. My own club, the Narragansett Bay Wheelmen, has been in existence, under various names, since 1879. Everything the club does, advocacy, the rides, picnics, dinners, goes off effortlessly. I personally feel cycling advocacy is the club's most important function and they are very good at it.
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Old 05-23-12, 03:08 PM   #6
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Yes.
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Old 05-23-12, 03:42 PM   #7
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Join a local bike club because:
1. you want to meet other local bicyclists
2. you want to learn more about bicycle technique and gear
3. you want to learn all the best bicycling routes in your area
4. you want to learn more about local bicycling issues (safety, advocacy, friendly businesses, etc.).

If you answer no to all the above, then bicycle clubs are not for you.

Most clubs let guests ride for free (at least a few times). Try joining one of the slower shorter rides so you don't have to worry about getting dropped or getting lost. You can always try a harder ride tomorrow.
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Old 05-23-12, 06:14 PM   #8
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I get all my parts and servicing done at the local MTB store/club house but I don't do the group rides. They are usually much too late in the day - I like to get up at 5am and be be home 11am. They leave at 10am and take all day. Also the rides are too slow and noisy for my liking. They tend to cruise along at 20-25km/h take breaks every hour or so and talk a lot. A like the sound of the wind, sea, and the feedback from my body. Any more than that makes it less fun for me. I also like the fact that there is nothing but me and my bike. I see way too many people in my day job to want to be social in the weekend.
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Old 05-23-12, 06:35 PM   #9
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Riding with a club will help you learn faster and put you in touch with others in your area with at least one interest in common. You can get help learning to work on you bike a deals or parts when people upgrade their own machines. And people are a lot less likely to bother you when you are on the road with several other people.
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Old 05-23-12, 07:43 PM   #10
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Try rides from 2-3 of the local clubs. There's a big variety in the types of rides offered by clubs so there is a good chance you'll find a situation that encourages your cycling.
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Old 05-23-12, 09:14 PM   #11
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I belong with a mountain biking group club that goes on some nice local trails.
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Old 05-24-12, 08:03 AM   #12
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They're all gonna laugh at you!
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Old 05-24-12, 08:51 AM   #13
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Thanks to all those who gave serious replies. I will try to catch a ride with my local club at least once this summer before I go back to school in the fall.

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They're all gonna laugh at you!
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Old 05-24-12, 10:22 AM   #14
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Thanks to all those who gave serious replies. I will try to catch a ride with my local club at least once this summer before I go back to school in the fall.
Son, why do you think the interwebs are the place to go for serious advice about groups that are local to you?
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Old 05-24-12, 10:40 AM   #15
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Wasn't asking about clubs local to me..I was asking about bicycle clubs in general, as in what the GENERAL experience has been from riders who have joined clubs in their area i.e. what to expect from them, etc.
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Old 05-24-12, 11:06 AM   #16
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I'm also considering joining a local club. This one, in specific: "Fremont Freewheelers" http://fremontfreewheelers.org/
They seem to be well organized, and have : http://fremontfreewheelers.org/ride_...ar/2012/05.pdf

I ride with friends on the weekend - and I will continue to...but we all don't ride at the same pace. My pace is typically around 14-16mph. The slowest in the group is around 10 -11. Not really a huge difference - but it is when you're riding 30 miles or so...and you're goal is to push yourself and lose weight.
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Old 05-24-12, 01:12 PM   #17
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I joined a local club and am glad I did. I don't know if it's atypical, there are probably at least 10 different rides every week, though I've only done the beginners learning ride (helps that the owners of one of my favorite LBS's runs it). At least with that club, you can do one right without joining.
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Old 05-24-12, 02:34 PM   #18
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I'd say yes.

A couple of pieces of advice.

Get there a bit before the listed start, that way you can talk to people first. A lot of those who are disapointed with clubs are that way becaseu of incorrect expectations. Sometimes it is the clubs fault, sometimes the new riders fault. Usually both share the blame.

I started with a club that made few promises. A lot of the disapointed people that I've seen online are upset becaseu 'no drop' rides are not no drop or they thought 12 mph meant 12 mph when going and the club meant it as total elapsed time (eg the average includes time wasted at stop lights).

I did not expect people to wait for me as the club made no promise other than an accurate routeslip. So if anyone waited they over delivered.

Someone getting there just 30 seconds after ride start with SFVBC would have been upset. They rolled out on time. And it is surprising how difficult it is to make up time on open streets with traffic lights. (I once had jsut gotten my bike back from the shop and the seat was mis adjusted, the minute to readjust was hell ot pull back).

Oh and perhaps most important. Many clubs have a large membership and many only show up once in a while. A club that even actively welcomes new riders may seem to ignore yuo if no one knows that you are there for the first time. It is your job to let people know you are new.
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Old 05-24-12, 03:37 PM   #19
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Just do it!

Pick a ride that appeals to you and go to it. Don't think too hard on the speed they say they are going to ride because it's probably a lie that could go either way. If you have a good time, do some more. If you don't have fun, look for another group.

I've been doing that for decades.
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Old 05-24-12, 03:48 PM   #20
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"I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member." ~~ Groucho Marx ~~
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Old 05-25-12, 10:58 AM   #21
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Yes!

I belong to two, total annual dues $25. That's a bargain.

Many clubs have slow and easy rides for beginners and nonhammerheads. Good clubs will tell you if the rides are swept or not.

I use club rides for a few reasons. They introduce me to new routes and areas. They push me a bit. Sometimes you meet nice new people, and then you get to crush their souls as you grind them to dust into the road, laughing at them over your shoulder.

The last sentence was just a joke.

One caution is that almost all clubs have a hammerhead wannabe racer ride where they really will drop you in a heartbeat if you can't keep up. Be sure you know if any given ride is like that. It can be a bad experience to be dropped on an unfamiliar road without a gps or a cue sheet because you didn't think you would need them.
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