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Help out a newcomer?

Old 07-23-08, 07:22 PM
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cad12
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Help out a newcomer?

I love riding bikes recreationally, and would like to take it to the next level. I'm interested in joining a cycling club or team.

I have no real experience, though, aside from riding around town for fun. I'm not sure how well I'd be able to keep with others.

Do any of the more experienced cyclists have any advice for me? What kind of club or team should I look for? I live in an urban area, but I'm not sure what my options are or what would best suit my experience level. What kind of bike should I have...is my normal recreational bike okay to start with, or do I need to get one of the super-expensive sport bikes right away?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-23-08, 09:09 PM
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HiYoSilver
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Start with a rec ride with LBS. Look for a group that is welcoming to new riders and has a "no drop" ride policy, i.e., they won't ride off and leave you in the dust.

Ride with your normal bike for at least a month before you get a bike because at this stage you don't know what's best. Some options:

-- sat rec rides
-- midweek rec rides
-- finding out about local road training groups
-- if really want something different, go watch a local tri event

good luck & have fun
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Old 07-25-08, 05:37 PM
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+1 to HiYoSilver's reply. Also, look in the regional discussion area here on Bikeforums.net.
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Old 07-25-08, 11:18 PM
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I was in a similar situation as you, I was a recreational rider on a hybrid and was hoping to get more into the sport. However, I found myself WAAY out of my league when I started joining clubs. I haven't encountered any clubs with people on hybrids or comfort bikes. Most club riders are usually roadies, as in they wear the lycra shorts and ride nice road bikes. However, a lot of them are fairly accepting to newbies, you can usually tell that they are if they have a no drop policy but I have encountered some that will drop you the first chance they get. You should note that I live in a suburban area in the midwest so the types of riders you encounter may vary for where you live. Some towns only have 1 club and all the riders are racers who go as fast as they can all the time. Others have only recreational road riders or both types.

The main club in my town has mainly recreational road bikers. Most of them wear lycra and ride road bikes but they usually have limits on how fast they go depending on the ride and they never drop anyone. On my first ride with the local club, I went on the slowest ride available and still found myself falling WAAY behind on my hybrid bike. A couple of riders were nice enough to stay behind and ride with me while the others broke off and went at the pace. After that first ride I stopped riding with them for a couple of months. During that time I started only doing solo rides until I got up to the level I needed to be to keep up. I sold my hybrid and saved up for a road bike and worked up my endurance. By the time I started riding with the club again I was able to do the intermediate rides. I should note, however that I wasn't in very good shape when I started out with the club. Just recently, a guy on a low end hybrid with all Wal-Mart accessories rode with us for the first time and he was able to keep up even on a 25mile windy ride at ~18mph average. So I guess either he was in really good shape or he had a lot of miles under his belt already.

My advice to you is to follow what HiYoSilver said go to your LBS and look for rec rides with "no drop" policies. I would ask club members or other riders to see what speeds the usually average and how far they go per ride, that way you have an idea of what to expect. Usually group rides are a bit easier than solo rides since you can draft people.
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Old 07-28-08, 02:36 AM
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cad12
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Thanks all.

For a beginner, does what type of bike you have matter a whole lot? My current bike is technically considered a road bike, but it was an inexpensive one (like $200). I know that I'm going to have to update to a more competitive bike eventually, but will my "starter bike" be adequate for the time being? Or am I going to struggle with it?
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Old 07-28-08, 02:52 AM
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What type of bike is it? It shouldn't matter that much though when you're starting out. It'll start making more of a difference when you start wanting to go farther and faster.
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