If you’re new to road cycling, one of the best ways to learn the rules of the road and group riding etiquette is to join a local club ride. It’s probably a lot less daunting than you think, and most rides will cater for you, whatever your ability.
I took the decision to ride with my local club (Ards CC) and thoroughly enjoyed it! After contacting Ards CC on Facebook, I joined their beginners group for a Saturday cycle and here are my top five reasons why I think you should join your local club too:
There were so many people at my ride – quite a few women too, which was encouraging for me. I was a little nervous, but everyone made me feel incredibly welcome.
Learning the various nuances of cycling, is where cycling with a group really becomes useful, pointing out obstacles, riding in traffic and signalling are all skills which will keep me safer when I venture out on solo expeditions.
We set off on our adventure (which turned out to be nearly 45Km in total – a real accomplishment for someone new to cycling) travelling on various terrains: busy roads, quiet side streets and a greenway was the perfect mix to improve my skills and confidence on the bike. The pace was challenging without being demotivating and it gave me time to vlog some of my experiences and chat to the other riders.
Any club ride worth talking about will have an obligatory refreshment stop, which is your chance to reward yourself for the hard miles you’ve ridden with a good coffee and a slice of cake. Not too much, mind!
While you may know all the fastest A-roads in your area, chances are your club will have a wealth of local knowledge and will lead you to some of the quieter rolling roads where you can ride in more safety and enjoy your time on two wheels a lot more.
Do not forget gloves! – My hands were frozen when the sun went behind the clouds and it started sleeting…classic British weather!
Have a proper jersey. I didn’t have back pockets which would have been a great place to keep tissues, a rain cape and spares. Also it just looks the part and as a beginner, my confidence would have been boosted if I looked similar to the more experienced riders.
Ask loads of questions. If people are in a cycling club, there a pretty solid chance they are keen to talk about their cycling experiences whenever they can. They might have some top tips, but you won’t know until you ask.
Keep going out with them. Supporting a local cycling club is a wonderful way to see people from your own community come together, have fun and keep active.
Will you be plucking up the courage to take a ride with your local club soon? Let us know where in the comment section below.