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What's your bike club like.

Old 01-21-07, 05:52 PM
  #1  
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What's your bike club like.

What's its goals. Does it cater to different styles of riding. Racing,touring, mountain biking. ? How does it deal with different skill levels of cyclists. Is it strictly for riding fanatics or does it have a social function. Is the club active as a cycling advocate. Do you value your membership. ?
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Old 01-21-07, 07:26 PM
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My club is called the Alberta Randonneurs.

As the name indicates, we are randonneurs. In other words we are long distance cyclists who ride brevets sanctioned by the ACP and BRM. That's our style!

And no, we don't have a social function. That's not to say that ride members don't get together socially, or that we all hate each other or anything ... but we don't have organized social events.

And no, we're not into advocacy. Thank goodness!

And yes, I do value my membership.
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Old 01-21-07, 09:08 PM
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I don't know if mine falls under the "club" category but my "team" is almost purely social. We have weekly rides that include bar stops, annual bowling nights, annual dinners, and the main reason we exist is to ride RAGBRAI. I think most of all we're just a group of people that like to ride bikes and enjoy each others company.
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Old 01-21-07, 09:27 PM
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Old 01-21-07, 10:03 PM
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I've been cycling for less than a year, and member since late in the season. So my impressions may be off the mark. I'll know better this year.

My club seems geared to recreational cyclists. There are also several programs and a ride series for beginners and occasional cyclists. I'd been hoping there would be more for commuter and utility riders like me, but it is what it is. There's another club in town for the racer types.

The club has been established for decades and has built up a large library of ride maps. There are scheduled rides every single day in-season--usually two, and more on weekends and holidays. This tapers to weekends-only on the "shoulder". There are no off-season rides.

There are several social events year-round. They also do a bit of advocacy work.

One thing I found weird is that everyone drives to the ride--at least those that I've done. I was disappointed once when, after riding 13 miles in the rain to a ride, it was canceled because the rain made riding "too dangerous." I took a copy of the map and rode it anyway. Then rode home.

And of the meetings I've attended, I've been the only one who rode a bike there. I've actually felt out-of-place at the club meetings because I didn't arrive by car.

Maybe that's the norm everywhere, but it seemed to me that driving a car to a bicycling club meeting is like taking a bus to a car club meeting. It's probably just due to my perspective of cycling as transport vs. the club's view of cycling as recreation.

Even so, the club added a ride series this year based on feedback like mine. (Several others also felt there was a need for a new series.) They asked me to put my money where my mouth is, so I'm leading several of those rides. We'll see how it goes this year.
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Old 01-21-07, 10:12 PM
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I dont know but i plan to join one when the season starts. I dont know why but it seems that every club i look into its all old people. Nothing wrong with old people, I am sure they are ten times as fit as me, but I am 22 and from the looks of all the pictures on their website i would be the youngest there by 25 years. I have no problem hanging out with older people, but I wonder how it will go.
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Old 01-21-07, 11:22 PM
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I'd never join a club that would have me as a member.
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Old 01-22-07, 12:03 AM
  #8  
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A little racing, a little touring, almost no mountain biking. Plenty of social activity. Multiple levels of rides. maybe they spend too much money supporting social issues that have nothing to do with cycling. We must be doing something right because we are in the only town to get two stages of the Amgen Tour of California.
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Old 01-22-07, 03:32 AM
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Our club is guided by it's membership in a nation wide organization promoting recreational riding. We have monthly meetings. Social events , dinners about every second month. They are serious riders and would not dream of stopping a ride before it's completion; unless it's on a day when an affiliated club elesewhere is sponsoring a 'coffee stop,' for the regions many cyclists. . But, normally after a club ride, at the clubhouse, we all hit a bottle of something or other. The local wines are great. Then we walk on home.
Cycling advocacy seems less important because, the laws here are so supportive of cycling. Cycling seems safe and certainly accepted by motorists. The village even provides us a club house in the towns sports center. Cycling advocates primarily work on advancing bike trails.
All new club members get a handout outling cycling laws and safe riding practices; along with a map outling the most popular cycling routes. The regional association of clubs president meets regularily with departmentsal agencies to plan cycling needs within it's sports budget.
Each Wednesday and Sunday ride, we get a map outling the days ride. Because we are an association of bike clubs, sometimes in the middle of the ride, we will stop at another clubs' clubhouse for a 10 minute coffee stop. That club will sponsor a coffee stop and all the clubs of the region will route their Sunday ride through that clubs town. The hundreds of cyclists descend on that town , it looks like an invasion of locusts.

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Old 01-22-07, 09:35 AM
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Imaginary. I have yet to join one. Maybe spring.
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Old 01-22-07, 10:57 AM
  #11  
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Goals? Well, according to my club's website:

"The New York Cycle Club is an educational and recreational organization for bicycle enthusiasts in New York City. Our greatest strength is our 2000+ members and a commitment to having as much fun as possible on a bicycle. We organize weekly rides, weekend trips, training programs and special events for novice and experienced cyclists. Join us to have fun, ride safe, get strong, and make friends - all while exploring some of the most beautiful routes in the tri-state area. Whatever aspect of the sport intrigues you, NYCC offers programs and people to get you in gear.

Benefits of NYCC Membership include:
NYCC monthly bulletin which lists club rides and events
access to our online ride listings for all of our Club rides
receive discounts at local bike shops
eligible for our renowned annual "Special Interest Groups" (SIGS)
may attend holiday weekend club trips
receive our semiannual club roster
reference material which lists books, maps, how-to's, bike-friendly diner destinations and a wealth of other useful information about cycling in and around New York City."

As far as I can tell it's about 90% road cycling, with the other 10% being mountain; no racing per se, but they partner with other racing organizations, and lots of club members appear to be racers also. Definitely caters to riders of different skill levels, and *definitely* has a social aspect! (I don't think I would bother with a club that didn't.)

I'm a relatively new member, so I can't really speak to the Advocacy issue; it appears to be on an individual basis, i.e., the club collectively doesn't have a "position" but serves as an excellent information resource for those who do.

Yeah, I value my membership. Absolutely
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Old 01-22-07, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by velonomad
Oh, yeah, THAT's a club! Now, a little trip to the hardware section should turn up some type of quick release clampage so I can....

Our club is very small. There are no dues and we pay our own way on overnighters. Largest map library in the country with over 450 different routes with cue sheets. Second largest number of hits in the US. We're adding routes that we actually ride on a continual basis.

Occasional social stuff. We expected no more than 15 people at our Christmas suare, but ended up with over 70 - with a solo violinist in there.

Very ecclectic mix of riding styles, but few hardcore fast/performance types. They tend to gravitate to Cascade Bicycle Club.

Have a visit at: http://www.seattlebiketours.org/
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Old 01-22-07, 12:17 PM
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I was wondering whats the average age of the clubs u guys are in. whats the youngest and oldest?
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Old 01-22-07, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Radiohead84
I dont know but i plan to join one when the season starts. I dont know why but it seems that every club i look into its all old people. Nothing wrong with old people, I am sure they are ten times as fit as me, but I am 22 and from the looks of all the pictures on their website i would be the youngest there by 25 years. I have no problem hanging out with older people, but I wonder how it will go.
It might go okay. The reason there are all these old people in clubs is that they all started biking when they were teenagers or young adults when the second bike boom hit in 1971. (The first was in 1890). Many of them either stayed with it or came back to it. It also helps that they are baby boomers so already have a numerical advantage over other age groups anyway. Look at a big organized bike ride and the biggest demographic are the 40-49 group followed by the 50-59 group.

But what you face today also happened thirty years ago. The local bike clubs were all made up of older, sometimes eccentric, men who used to cruise long distances around the countryside on imported bikes in small groups. Suddenly they found themselves being followed by all these kids. Their regularly scheduled centuries went from a couple dozen riders to hundreds than thousands of riders in just a few years. So how did it go? Well all these old guys had to teach all these new riders how to ride, how to eat, how to fix their bike in the middle of nowhere. They also had to delegate a lot of organizational work to younger people to get all the logistics needed for a hundred-fold increase in riders.

1. Go ahead and ride with the older cyclists, you might learn something or at least be entertained, some of them are good story tellers.

2. Get some friends your age to go with you.

Most of these older clubs are more than ready to start turning over the reins to the next group of riders. I see a lot of rides being lead or organized by a 30-something and the guy that lead that ride for twenty years is riding at the back keeping the newcomers company as they find their way home.
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Old 01-22-07, 01:05 PM
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Been a member of my local club for two years. Went to my first meeting a few months ago. I was the youngest there by a good 10 years (all 40 or 50 somethings).

I went there by bike (~30 miles away), but in street clothes on my commuter ('72 Schwinn Super Sport). Most everyone was fully outfitted in really nice gear, and almost every bike had aero bars, though many of the members were pretty wobbly on them. Only the group president spoke to me, no one else even made eye contact. It didn't feel very nice at all. I'm not sure if I'll quit the group or not, they might just need a kick in the arse. I'll go on a few weekend tours and send out open invites, maybe cool people will join me.

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Old 01-22-07, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by fillthecup
Been a member of my local club for two years. Went to my first meeting a few months ago. I was the youngest there by a good 10 years (all 40 or 50 somethings).

I went there by bike (~30 miles away), but in street clothes on my commuter ('72 Schwinn Super Sport). Most everyone was fully outfitted in really nice gear, and almost every bike had aero bars, though many of the members were pretty wobbly on them. Only the group president spoke to me, no one else even made eye contact. It didn't feel very nice at all. I'm not sure if I'll quit the group or not, they might just need a kick in the arse. I'll go on a few weekend tours and send out open invites, maybe cool people will join me.
yeah thats what I am scared of. I am good with people much older with me usually. When i was in japan i went to several groups(one beer club)where i was the youngest one by 25 years. I got along fine and had a great time. While In Japan I went to a bike club meeting and everyone there was 50 or so. I think this is where i get the bad vibe of joining a group. None of them talked to me, none of them wanted to look at me. It was as if they didnt want anything to do with me and were fine with the way thier group was as is.

The club in my area has a nice website with a lot of pictures. They have a lot of events and it looks like a lot of fun for them, but I am sooo much younger then them. We shall see.
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Old 01-22-07, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Radiohead84
I was wondering whats the average age of the clubs u guys are in. whats the youngest and oldest?
As far as I know I'm the youngest at 39 years old. The oldest ... ummmm ... mid-60s probably.

Anyone is welcome to join ... just be prepared to ride all day ... and sometimes all night too.
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Old 01-22-07, 11:02 PM
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The only club I belong to is cascade cycling club, which is huge - something over 10,000 members.

The group I ride with does nightly rides a couple times a week. Our rides are mostly social - 16-18 MPH on the flats, as fast as you want up the hills (fast guys ride them twice).

And every once in a while, we'll do a sprint back to the starting point for the last 5 miles or so.
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Old 01-24-07, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by tsl

One thing I found weird is that everyone drives to the ride--at least those that I've done. I was disappointed once when, after riding 13 miles in the rain to a ride, it was canceled because the rain made riding "too dangerous." I took a copy of the map and rode it anyway. Then rode home.

.
That wouldn't have been the ride that we rode to in the pouring rain would it? Puppies. At least we had the right idea and continue on for a good ride - hey - if you're already wet - keep going!

I actually had several rides I went to go lead - rain or cold - and ride down to the start point only to find no one show up. Dismaying at the least.

I'm finding it's a rather non-personal club - everyone does their own thing, little comradery I guess - I should know - Activities are arranged at local sports functions and only 6 people out of over 400 attend - plus it seems like it's an aging club with fewer and fewer younger members.

Hopefully the new SWEEP rides will interest more people - so we don't have such a division in members ---- either ride the slower short rides ----- or pound the hills for a 100.
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Old 01-24-07, 10:26 AM
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I belong to The Siouxland Cyclists Bicycle Club. Our motto is "Blood, Sweat & Rears". Our main focus is RAGBRAI every year. Our weekly club rides are geared toward prepairing for RAGBRAI. The club members range in age from infants to retirees. The average age of the club is 45 yrs. old. The club has memebrs who are cat. 5 or higher racers, advocates, commuters, mtn bikers, roadies, recumbent riders, etc. We are open to & welcome anyone who wants to join
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Old 01-26-07, 08:58 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Radiohead84
yeah thats what I am scared of. I am good with people much older with me usually. When i was in japan i went to several groups(one beer club)where i was the youngest one by 25 years. I got along fine and had a great time. While In Japan I went to a bike club meeting and everyone there was 50 or so. I think this is where i get the bad vibe of joining a group. None of them talked to me, none of them wanted to look at me. It was as if they didnt want anything to do with me and were fine with the way thier group was as is.

The club in my area has a nice website with a lot of pictures. They have a lot of events and it looks like a lot of fun for them, but I am sooo much younger then them. We shall see.
Before I got involved I only saw "old people" out riding and started to assume that there wasn't anyone my age (22/23 then) that I could ride with. I ended up hanging out with some of the old guys and riding a few times and they were some really awesome guys, after hanging out a few times I didn't even notice the age gap. It also turned out a lot of them have kids my age who show up with their friends. There's no where near as many young people as middle aged and "old" but we have a nice mix and I don't think it's ever got in the way.
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Old 01-26-07, 09:21 PM
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I don't care for being in a club whose members drive to ride.

For a short time I used to be a member of a tiny informal club at my university. It had people who actually rode to starting points (some for as far as 12 miles ). It also had people with all kinds of bikes: road, hybrid, X-mart junk.
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Old 01-26-07, 10:33 PM
  #23  
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Toronto sprawls. I will with great glee cadge a lift to the start of a group bike ride in the country so that I can ride on quiet country roads rather than in suburbia.
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Old 01-27-07, 02:02 AM
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Originally Posted by chephy
I don't care for being in a club whose members drive to ride.
Ummmmm .... what if the club rides start about 100 to 150 miles away from where you live ....... like they do for me and my club?
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Old 01-27-07, 10:56 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Boudicca
Toronto sprawls. I will with great glee cadge a lift to the start of a group bike ride in the country so that I can ride on quiet country roads rather than in suburbia.
Yes, I understand. However, we were based at York University (northern Toronto) - and Toronto hasn't sprawled quite as much in the northern direction for some reason. We would fly past the suburbs pretty quickly and get to the country side pretty fast. Although we did have a member who rode 12 miles from downtown Toronto to get to the starting point at York at 6 a.m. He said that at 5 a.m. on a Saturday down- and mid-town roads were just as perfect for riding as the countryside.

Originally Posted by Machka
Ummmmm .... what if the club rides start about 100 to 150 miles away from where you live ....... like they do for me and my club?
They never did. They always started the same place - York University, close to where most of us lived (since most of us were associated with York U in some ways). Because it was a tiny informal local grassroots club. I did not mean to offend or criticize anyone who's a member of bigger and more serious clubs. One of our members later went on and joined the randonneurs and now occasionally not only drives but flies to ride. Good for him. He recently completed his first 1200, has really progressed and is enjoying it a whole lot. It's just that I don't see myself ever being a member of such a club. I am not much of a recreational rider in general; I like to ride mainly for transportation. (But I do like to tour, somehow considering it at least part transportation - and at some point I will be flying to starting points of my tours... but that's a different matter ).
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