Ask not what your cycling club can do for you — ask what you can do for your cycling club
This is a volunteer organization. That means we need volunteers to make it happen. Look in the mirror and think about what you’ve gotten from the club and what you’ve given to the club. More than anything we need ride leaders. Folks to commit week-after-week to lead rides. Weekday mornings. Weekend mornings. And/or at other times if you’re so inclined. Being a ride leader is easy: know the route, have a cell phone, know the plan, be awesome. That’s pretty much it. You don’t need to be the fastest, the most stylish, the funniest, the strongest, or the best rider. You just need to be the leader. To show up and lead a ride. That in itself gives other riders the confidence to show up and ride. Heck the club will even hold a Ride Leader Training session to teach you the things you need to know to be a good leader.
If you want to help out this season and/or next season please click here to reply.
- When pulling away from a stop, the lead riders must accelerate slowly, otherwise the riders at the back of the group are left having to chase. This will help keep the group together.
- Point out and call out the hazards for those behind you. This also means don’t point at the fancy house/car/bike you see in the distance. 🙂
- When rotating in our double pace line, the club guidelines state we rotate in a clockwise fashion whereby the lead rider on the right slows down slightly, the lead rider on the left maintains their speed and comes across and the left side of the pace line moves up. When you are ready to move over, just let your lead partner know. This keeps us safer as the group only is riding two abreast and drivers behind can more clearly see up the road.
- When you are coming up beside the rider in front of you, let them know by saying “On your left/right”. They can’t see you, so this way they know you are there.
- This is a team sport – communicate communicate communicate.
- Ear buds are NOT to be used on a ride. Leave them at home. Or stay at home. No exceptions.
Throughout the season we will share tips, tricks, techniques, skills, etc, that form a collection of Best Practices for riding. We’ve got a wide range of cyclists in the club so let’s share some of the knowledge and help everyone become a better cyclist. Surprisingly (or not) an awful lot of being a good cyclist is about the things unrelated to actually riding your bike.
Pre-ride To-Do List
What’s on your Pre-ride To-Do List? If you’re like many riders you don’t have one. And that’s OK but if you want to take your cycling to the next level you need to make plans to be successful. Learn the route, figure out how much food and water you need for the ride, establish some goals for the ride – speed, feeling, sprints you want to win, etc. Visualize how it’s all going to happen. Review your checklist of things you need in your pockets and saddlebag to make sure you’re all set. Do you pre-ride bike check and then hit the road. Get to the meeting point early. If you’re not early, you’re late.
Allocate 15 minutes after your ride for stretching. You can do most of these while holding your phone in your hand and updating Strava! The repetitive motion of cycling can cause all sorts of issues in your body, and an easy way to counteract much of that is through stretching. Do these simple stretches as soon as you get home, still in your cycling gear, while your muscles are still warm from the ride. (https://www.bicycling.com/training/a27683173/best-stretches/)
Clean Your Bike
Do this regularly. And take the this time to inspect your bike frame for chips, cracks, and other issues. A sponge, rag, etc – your hose and some soap is all you need.
Drink water and eat real food
All the fancy sport drinks and fuels can be helpful but for the vast majority of club riders you’d be better off eating real food – a peanut butter sandwich, dried fruits and nuts, etc – and drinking water versus the sport fuels. They have a time and place but you can skip them and eat real food with great results. Don’t get hung up on things that don’t really matter. Ride your bike and have fun.
Drink water and eat real food, part 2
Many folks wait until they are hungry or thirsty before they eat or drink; at that point it’s too late. You need to be strategic and intentional about it – eat and drink to your time and effort schedule. If your body is telling your brain that you need something that’s too late. Get ahead and stay ahead. It’s easy if you make it part of your plan. You got this!
Every rider needs to be prepared to fix the most common issues on their bike while on a ride. This means having a saddlebag with the tools and supplies you need. The minimum items to be included should be $20 cash, a spare tube, a CO2 canister (or pump), tire levers. If you don’t have these items, go to Oxygen and tell them what you need. Relying on others to have the things YOU need is just not cool, and will quickly result in folks not wanting to ride with you.
Many folks vastly overestimate their abilities on the bike. This is a sure-fire recipe for disappointment. Be humble, think critically about your strengths and fitness level, and then join rides that you think are below your level. See how it goes, and then move up. Don’t try to start at the top. Please.
Call our road hazards. Shout out that the group is slowing or stopping, or about to make a turn. Use your voice as it allows you to keep your hands on your bars and stay in control.
Charge Your Batteries
This applies to lights, your electronic shifting, and yourself. Getting out on the road to have your lights or your shifting die just sucks. You can check the status of the charge at the end of a ride – DI2 just press and hold a shifter and look at the lights on the junction box, SRAM etap, press the function button on the derailleur. Or if you’re super tech connected you can see it on your bike computer screen.
Having those batteries die sucks, but having your own “battery” die is worse. The only thing in cycling that you should overdo is sleeping. Rest and recovery are crucial to being a strong, smart and safe rider. Rest up. Take a day off.
Wave To Other Riders
You’re outside. They’re outside. You’re cool. They’re cool. It’s just riding bikes. Keep the community strong. Be awesome.
Be early and be prepared
Arrive at least five minutes before the scheduled departure time – this gives you time to see who’s there, chat, make sure everyone knows you’re there, etc. And be prepared – this means having food and drink to support your ride distance, knowing the route, knowing the timing and having all that you need to make sure you can get home safely.
Make A Plan
It might seem like every other rider just shows up at the start point and rides, but is that really the case? Or do the better, stronger, safer, faster riders actually do more? In many cases they do – sometimes they don’t even realize they’re doing it but they are. The check the route ahead of time, the think about how the ride is going to go, where they’re going to stop for a treat, what they want to get from the ride in terms of a workout, etc. So spend some time before your next ride and make a plan. Then get out there and make it happen!
JUST CUZ I’M YELLING AT YOU..
When we’re out on our bikes if another rider yells at you it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are angry, mad at you, or a jerk. If the yelling is about riding it’s because it’s a safety issue, an issue that could impact their safety, something you should already know, or something that needs your immediate attention. Accept it, adjust accordingly, and get over it. If you are really offended at the coffee stop speak nicely, calmly and clearly to them and the other riders and sort it out. Get it? Got it? Good.
And there are some riders who are WAY MORE VOCAL than others. Deal with it. Or don’t ride with them. It’s pretty simple. 🙂