Finding the right cycling club for you!

Started cycling and want to find a club that suits your needs?  Not sure where to start?  I received a message earlier this week on instagram from someone saying I always looked so happy (and so did the others) in the pics I shared from my club rides with Romford CC.  And I genuinely am!  But I am also aware that it can all be a bit confusing and a bit of a mind boggling experience finding a club in the first place.  But it doesn’t need to be!

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It is important to remember that not all clubs are the same and some have different objectives, which can be anything from social riding to racing.  So as they say one size does not fit all, and that’s ok!

Everyone may have a different purpose when they get on a bike including:

  • social riding
  • touring
  • commuting
  • duathlon
  • triathlon
  • racing
  • endurance
  • time trialling

To be fair the list could probably go on and on.  But no one is right or wrong and you just have to identify what you want out of it and find a group of like minded people, and you will probably find in that a suitable club to join.

A good starting point is British Cycling, who have a club finder on their website.  It does what it says on the tin and you can enter the details of where you live and how far you are willing to travel and these will apply a filter and provide you with a list of registered clubs in the area.  It will also provide you information on the clubs, within the results, including what activities they take part in and who it is suitable for.  From this you can determine one you feel most suitable for you.

A lot of clubs will offer the option to try a certain number of rides with them so you can test them out so to speak and see if it is a suitable fit.

Some things to ask when contacting a club could include:

  • the pace of the rides
  • do they apply a no drop policy ie no one is left behind
  • when and where they ride
  • the distance of their rides
  • membership prices and any benefits that may be included
  • what you need to bring with you ie repair kit, lights

Cyclists are generally a social bunch and within a club you will find those with the same interests (bikes, bikes and more bikes) and more often life long friends.

For many the thought of a club is daunting but it really needn’t be.  You will be surrounded by like minded people.

I remember first going on a club ride and being worried about:

  • being too slow – there is always someone faster and always someone slower but you all get from a to b at the end of the day and those that are less than gracious in this area I often call them dick swingers (yes I really just said that)
  • looking stupid in lycra – not many people look good in lycra so just go with it
  • looking like a mushroom in my helmet – everyone does and it serves a purpose so I would rather look like a mushroom that is in tact rather than not
  • is my bike good enough – ignore those that say you have to have a certain make or spec of bike, of course that can make a difference but you can’t throw money at something and get instant results, that takes training (I refer to my earlier dick swinger comment)

There will always be exceptions of course but most people I know who found a club they like have never looked back so take the plunge and who knows where it may take you – literally somewhere far flung on your bike maybe!

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