Old 03-31-08, 07:19 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: St. Catharines ON and Hilton Head Island SC
Posts: 22

Bikes: 2006 Specialized Sequoia Elite 2000 Cannondale Silk Path 400

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Cyclist Development in Local Bicycle Clubs

Not sure if I am in the appropriate forum.

I believe that one of the responsibilities of a bicycle club is cyclist development.

Golfers take lessons, tennis players take lessons, young bicycle racers get instruction from their cycling clubs; so, what about recreational cyclists. How do cyclists get to learn how to cycle farther, faster, better, how to get the most out of expensive equipment, whatever. How do we get to develop our interest in cycling into a real hobby, a passion.

A percentage of those who show up at club rides as beginners (and ultimately join the club) decide that they want to improve their cycling skills. My experience is that the percentage is very, very low, maybe 1 in 20 or 30. But these people not only enjoy the rides, they take pride in increasing their cycling skills.

My personal interest is in working with those few who start on "the old bike in the garage" (like I did) and fall in love with the sport. It has nothing to do with Level A, B or C. It has to do with wanting to improve, to be able to ride 10 miles, then 20 or 30 and maybe even more. It has to do with understanding how the proper use of gears can enable one to climb a hill with two stops instead of four. (It surprised me to learn that many people, especially women, have never driven a car with a manual transmission. They have never experienced going up "through the gears" like I did with my VW Beetle).

Last summer, both my wife and I had the good fortune to ride with experienced cyclists who became our mentors. In an informal way they tutored us on how to pedal effectively, the importance of conserving energy, the importance of self-confidence, how to use the drive train, how to descend safely, how to hydrate, how to nourish, how to breathe when doing a tough ascent, etc. As a result, both of us were able to do our first century and do a ride with substantial vertical elevation in our first year. We are both retirees.

Does anyone have experience with a 'formal rider development program at the local club level' that you would be willing to share to assist us in so doing in our club?

Thanks, Ted
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