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Bike Clubs

Old 03-22-09, 10:41 AM
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Bike Clubs

Do you see much advantages to biking in/with a club?
I am 21, starting to get competitive... so would you suggest it?
What is the average age of most? Looking at pics on club sites it looks like most consist of the older population.
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Old 03-22-09, 10:52 AM
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Go find a group to ride with. If they call themselves a club...so be it. If they are old..so be it. If they are slower than you, find a new club.
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Old 03-22-09, 11:46 AM
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Clubs come in different skill levels so look for a club that will make you ride faster than you normally do.

I think you will be surprised how fast some of those older guys can ride. Many of them have been riding for a dozen years and you will have to work very hard to keep up.

I ride three times per week, two solo rides and one club ride. One of the solo rides is my interval ride which includes hill clmbing and the other ride I do a fast paced tempo ride. The club rides have made me faster.
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Old 03-22-09, 11:58 AM
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Most clubs let you ride with them (at least a few times) for free. Go ride with some of the local clubs and see how you like it.

Social/recreational clubs do tend to have older riders, but a lot of those retired people (men and women) ride almost every day and some grandmas can easily drop their 30 year old sons on century rides.

Race training clubs attract younger riders, but slow people get spit off the back of the pack pretty regularly.

Most clubs have rides with several different speed levels, so they are a great way to meet other cyclists with the same fitness level as you.
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Old 03-22-09, 12:01 PM
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Even in the small town, with the small club I belong to some of our 20 somethings can almost keep up with the 60-70 somethings. I'm not in your league being a 60 something newbe but don't assume that gray hair slows you down. The good news about riding with a group is they force you to go further and faster then you go by yourself. In my case, being the newbe I have to pedal my butt off (at 265lbs that's a lot of butt) just to keep up because frequently I don't know where we are and how to get home.
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Old 03-22-09, 12:34 PM
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find group rides, doesn't matter if it's a club or just a bunch of people who ride.. make sure some of them are faster than you, and it's a challenge to hang on. i've done group training rides with cat3's-cat1's (i'm a mid pack cat4)and it's hard as hell to hang on, they aren't trying their hardest to drop me, but when the wind is right, and the roads are rough, it feels like i'd imagine paris roubaix to be, just keeping on some of these strong guys wheels hurts like bejeebus.. and sometimes i have to ride home alone, lol.
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Old 03-22-09, 12:45 PM
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yeah, don't worry about their age. You'll realize that age only matters to youngsters like you who have only been around people their own age. I'm 33 and tend to be the youngest on some group rides. Does this matter? Not especially unless I only care about what the occasional driver or pedestrian may think for .003 of a second.

You'll come to realize a few things:

Endurance sports favor the older.
These "old timers" may have already done many of the things you aspire to do, learn from them.
Many have been riding long before you were off of training wheels.
That "slow" 17mph pace you hate can continue all day, long after you bonk.
That "slow" 17mph pace may also continue up the hill, and up the next, and the next.
You never know when they are "just taking it easy" that day because yesterday was a century or an interval day.

And lastly, as you mature you'll realize people are people and you'll learn more, learn faster, broaden your horizons and become wiser if you are open, friendly, ask questions and listen more than you talk.

Good luck and have fun! If you need to do a lung-busting-mountain-interval the day before then so be it.
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Old 03-22-09, 02:28 PM
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Age matters if you're a younger guy and:
1. you are afraid of getting dropped by a lady old enough to be your grandmother or
2. you are trying to meet girls your own age
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Old 03-22-09, 03:19 PM
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the club that I ride with has about 6 different "levels" that ride out all based on speeds.
it's a mixture of ages in all the rides.

dont let age fool ya.... I've had plenty of guys and gals twice my age blow by me.
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Old 03-22-09, 03:26 PM
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Go with that guy in northern Michigan who yells at everyone.
He caters to all levels of cycling and is plenty slow enough for new cyclists.
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Old 03-22-09, 03:39 PM
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My normal little group ride consists of all ages. The regulars are anywhere from 25-60 in age. Most the young riders are fast for the first 10 miles................ then they learn the older folks aren't so slow after all..... Sometimes we even see them again
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Old 03-22-09, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by timmyquest
Go find a group to ride with. If they call themselves a club...so be it. If they are old..so be it. If they are slower than you, find a new club.
These are great for recovery rides and just being social albeit slow is relative.

- Get ready to get dropped by guys twice your age.
- Don't be fooled by their pitch that it's going to be "an easy pace". This just means that on the second half of the ride, your a** is going to get dropped.
- Most importantly, have fun
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Old 03-22-09, 04:04 PM
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edit:
Most clubs have different groups (A, B, C, etc). Even within the different groups, there are different policies like an A ride hammerfest with dropping allowed (meaning, if your a** gets dropped, nobody is waiting for you).
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Old 03-22-09, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by kimconyc
These are great for recovery rides and just being social albeit slow is relative.
That's actually a good point, and i've got a group i ride with every few weeks that fits that bill.
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Old 03-22-09, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by kimconyc
These are great for recovery rides and just being social albeit slow is relative.

- Get ready to get dropped by guys twice your age.
- Don't be fooled by their pitch that it's going to be "an easy pace". This just means that on the second half of the ride, your a** is going to get dropped.
- Most importantly, have fun
The OP is only 21. Don't be surprised if he gets dropped by girls that are 3 times his age.
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Old 03-22-09, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by johnny99
The OP is only 21. Don't be surprised if he gets dropped by girls that are 3 times his age.
Depends on where he lives. I never see women on bikes in the midwest...
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Old 03-22-09, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by timmyquest
Depends on where he lives. I never see women on bikes in the midwest...
i hardly ever see a woman on a bicycle in calgary, not trying to be sexist, but im a daily commuter, and the odd time i will see a woman on a bike... hardly ever though.
*of course that doesn't mean that they aren't out there though.
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Old 03-22-09, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by timmyquest
Depends on where he lives. I never see women on bikes in the midwest...
I take it you've never done RAGBRAI.
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Old 03-22-09, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by halfspeed
I take it you've never done RAGBRAI.
Unfortunately i haven't...despite living in Iowa for 2 summers.
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Old 03-22-09, 07:28 PM
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Rode with one of those groups of old guys (and gals) this weekend, I'm in my mid-30as Glad I did. They were pleasant and welcoming. The pace was a pit slow in the beginning (B-) ride, but once we hit the 35 mile mark I certainly knew that I had been riding. At one point they told me I could probably think about moving up a group if I wanted.

On the last 10 miles one of the members decided to pour it on a bit and I stuck with him. Glad I did. Learned something about pacelines and something even more about how not to attack a hill. By the time we finished 45 miles or so, I knew two things. 1) I would be coming back for more and 2) I would have to get another few rides under my belt before trying to hang with a B ride.

Best part was the young woman (first timer) with us riding a flat barred, mountain/hybird type, in sneakers on platform pedals who, as I was cresting the last hill and saying, "I'm done, I've got nothing left..." was kind enough not to laugh at me as she rode by with a man who had earlier told me he was in the Air Force during the Vietnam era tight on her back wheel. Needless to say, I caught up and we all finished together... all in all. A good day in the saddle.

Side note bearing no relevance:
Looking at pics on club sites it looks like most consist of the older population.
I think that is largely because the people who are in the pictures are older, this may or may not be representative of the overall makeup of the club or riders.
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Old 03-22-09, 10:40 PM
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Last year, after riding solo for months and months, and feeling pretty good about my fitness level, I showed up for a local sunday morning group ride. Virtually everyone in attendance was in their 50's to 70's, and I thought to myself: "this is going to be a boring ride".. The pace started slowly, around 10mph.. but gradually increased. By mile 30 we were running an average pace of well over 23+mph, in 100 degree heat, and I was dying. In fact, that was the closest I've ever come to having heat stroke. Getting the chills on blistering summer day isn't a good sign. Anyway, these guys (and a few gals) were all idling along like it was a casual spring ride. Came to find out this was a recovery ride for them. The previous day they had all ridden a super hilly century and were a little worn out, so they "were taking it easy".

Talk about being humbled! Needless to say, I never went back. I'm realistic enough to realize that needed to continue working on my fitness level before I felt confident enough to try that ride again.
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