[ Adapted, with thanks to Jack Schofield, https://www.cyclestore.co.uk/ ]

 

VCC team Majorca 2017

It can be quite a daunting experience joining a new club. But riding with a club can add a new set of strings to your bow. By watching and learning from the experienced riders around you, you can transform your abilities and have fun.

So many questions can be running through your head. Wondering if you’re fast enough, how group riding in a peloton works, whether you have the right kit, a good enough bike, etc.,etc..?!  

And when you arrive it’s still pretty scary - nice bikes, matching kit, everyone knows everyone and you feel like you stick out like a sore thumb. You find the runs leader, say hello and before you know it you’re out on the road.

This is where you find that all the worries you originally had don’t matter. You’ll be more than able to keep up with the group you’ve chosen providing you’ve chosen sensibly and in particular heeded the advice of our Membership Secretary from your induction ride.

Everyone has to start somewhere and trust us, it’s quite easy to put our riding rules into practice in one of our groups.

Making you a better rider.
You’ll quickly learn that riding in a group on the road is all about keeping it smooth and consistent.

Club runs image 2

Smooth on the front, not attacking the hills - no sudden changes of direction. The peloton look after each other throughout. There’ll be plenty of people for you to chat to while you’re in the group - so you’ll often barely feel like you’re training at all.

Make sure you spend your fair share of time on the front– this is where you’ll be doing the work and letting the others rest their legs. And we always stop for a mid-ride coffee or snack - so whilst it’s wise to carry something in your pocket, re-fuelling is part and parcel of our rides.

Learning to signal for the holes and anticipate the surfaces you’re riding will come in super helpful as you progress and continue to ride solo out on the roads. You’ll get the hang of spotting potholes and avoiding them. Mixed with your new smooth cadence and consistent style – you’ll be moving up into the next group in no time, as riding with us is all about supporting people to improve as a rider and achieve their goals.

Socialising.

Homepage image 2


Whether you’ve moved town, house or are just after a new bunch of people to spend some time with - cycling on the roads can be a great way to get to know a variety of people and places! You could stumble across a whole host of people you wouldn’t expect and you’ll be able to catch up the whole way round.

Granted when you’re out of breath at the top of the climb or have the wind whistling past your ears then conversation might not be the easiest. But there will be plenty of time when you’re rolling along the flats you’ll be able to hold a conversation. And the order will constantly be changing so you’ll get a chance to chat to everyone.

Along with this the mid-ride café stop is a great opportunity to catch up with other members and have a good laugh. You don’t have to ride alone any more, or fix that puncture you keep getting without some help!

Safety in numbers

UCI Grand Fondo rider 4


Out on the open road with the air in your face provides the ultimate sense of freedom, but it can be a lonely place too! Riding, whether alone or in a group, can be very rewarding but the peloton look after each other, no one gets left behind!

The groups ride together, at set speeds, so riders know what to expect and can choose a group that is right for them. And if there is a puncture or mechanical issue, there is plenty of help on hand to provide a solution.

And we all know our roads are busy places, with other road users who can be impatient and occasionally unkind. A peloton has a presence that is missing when you ride alone, there is safety in numbers.

Finding new routes.

C100 image


It can be quite daunting finding new routes to try out. Especially if you’ve just moved to the local area. While Strava global heatmaps are a fantastic way to find new spots, nothing will beat the knowledge of a local who’s been out training on the local roads for years. They’ll be able to tell you roads to avoid, where the dodgy surfaces are and where the traffic usually ends up.

There are routes we know well and routes we ‘make up’, the key being the Runs Leader knows the way (or at least has a Garmin and knows how to use it)! And what’s even better – they’ll be able to show you the best coffee shops!

Improving your fitness.

Hill climb 2017 LW


They say if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together. While you’ll be able to improve your fitness out riding your bike by yourself, nothing will test and motivate you quite as much as riding in a group. There’ll be plenty of people with different strengths and weaknesses. Those who like to sit on the front and take on the headwind and the little mountain goats who dance up the hills. And with our Rider development programme there
are multiple ways to train and gain new skills, so you’ll soon be improving your fitness to no end.

Your speed on a bike can be greatly improved from the combination of added fitness, a smooth cadence and knowing exactly when to apply to power. All of these things will come on greatly riding with us.

Saving you money.

Majorca 2


Membership is just £25 per year. Granted a bike isn’t the cheapest of things, but if you already have your bike then riding with us can be a great saving on your regular fitness classes or gym membership.

We have a great range of benefits like high quality kit at an affordable price deals with the local bike shops, and discounts on entrance fees for local Sportives and bike insurance, So you don’t have to carry on spending a small fortune on things you normally would.

Where men and women are equal

Anniversary Cake 20082017


The hurdle of joining a new club is perhaps greater when the sense is that it will be full of fitter and better riders - I simply won’t fit in! Taking the plunge can feel even more daunting when the male to female ratio is clearly on the testosterone fuelled side of the equation and the sense of being in a minority is therefore doubly tension inducing - can I really hack it with those sporty types?!

Rest assured, all our members were newbies at one time and for any women seeking the opportunity to get the inside track or just in need of a conversation to get a little bit of extra re-assurance, please contact Nicky our Ladies Committee Member. You might find joining one of her introductory rides for ladies who are thinking of joining and
wanting to learn a little more about group riding would be the ideal next step.

There is no better time than now!

VCC logo 2


It’s a no brainer really, join us, get out and ride and hopefully you’ll never look back!

[Adapted, with thanks to Jack Schofield, www.cyclestore.co.uk]

It can be quite a daunting experience joining a new club. But riding with a club can add a new set of strings to your bow. By watching and learning from the experienced riders around you, you can transform your abilities and have fun.

So many questions can be running through your head. Wondering if you’re fast enough, how group riding in a peloton works, whether you have the right kit, a good enough bike…?!  

And when you arrive it’s still pretty scary - nice bikes, matching kit, everyone knows everyone and you feel like you stick out like a sore thumb. You find the runs leader, say hello and before you know it you’re out on the road.

This is where you find that all the worries you originally had don’t matter. You’ll be more than able to keep up with the group you’ve chosen providing you’ve chosen sensibly and in particular heeded the advice of our Membership Secretary from your induction ride.

Everyone has to start somewhere and trust us, it’s quite easy to put the riding rules into practice in one of our groups.

Making you a better rider.
You’ll quickly learn that riding in a group on the road is all about keeping it smooth and consistent. Smooth on the front, not attacking the hills - no sudden changes of direction. The peloton look after each other throughout. There’ll be plenty of people for you to chat to while you’re in the group - so you’ll often barely feel like you’re training at all.

Make sure you spend your fair share of time on the front– this is where you’ll be doing the work and letting the others rest their legs. And we always stop for a mid-ride coffee or snack - so whilst it’s wise to carry something in your pocket, re-fuelling is part and parcel of our rides.

Learning to signal for the holes and anticipate the surfaces you’re riding will come in super helpful as you progress and continue to ride solo out on the roads. You’ll get the hang of spotting potholes and avoiding them. Mixed with your new smooth cadence and consistent style – you’ll be moving up into the next group in no time, as riding with us is all about supporting people to improve as a rider and achieve their goals.

Socialising.
Whether you’ve moved town, house or are just after a new bunch of people to spend some time with - cycling on the roads can be a great way to get to know a variety of people (and places!). You could stumble across a whole host of people you wouldn’t expect and you’ll be able to catch up the whole way round.

Granted when you’re out of breath at the top of the climb or have the wind whistling past your ears then conversation might not be the easiest. But there will be plenty of time when you’re rolling along the flats you’ll be able to hold a conversation. And the order will constantly be changing so you’ll get a chance to chat to everyone.

Along with this the mid-ride café stop is a great opportunity to catch up with other members and have a good laugh. You don’t have to ride alone any more, or fix that puncture you keep getting without some help!

Safety in numbers
Out on the open road with the air in your face provides the ultimate sense of freedom, but it can be a lonely place too! Riding, whether alone or in a group, can be very rewarding but the peloton look after each other, no one gets left behind!

The groups ride together, at set speeds, so riders know what to expect and can choose a group that is right for them. And if there is a puncture or mechanical issue, there is plenty of help on hand to provide a solution.

And we all know our roads are busy places, with other road users who can be impatient and occasionally unkind. A peloton has a presence that is missing when you ride alone, there is safety in numbers.

Finding new routes.
It can be quite daunting finding new routes to try out. Especially if you’ve just moved to the local area. While Strava global heatmaps are a fantastic way to find new spots, nothing will beat the knowledge of a local who’s been out training on the local roads for years. They’ll be able to tell you roads to avoid, where the dodgy surfaces are and where the traffic usually ends up.

There are routes we know well and routes we ‘make up’, the key being the Runs Leader knows the way (or at least has a Garmin and knows how to use it)! And what’s even better – they’ll be able to show you the best coffee shops!

Improving your fitness.
They say if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together. While you’ll be able to improve your fitness out riding your bike by yourself, nothing will test and motivate you quite as much as riding in a group. There’ll be plenty of people with different strengths and weaknesses. Those who like to sit on the front and take on the headwind and the little mountain goats who dance up the hills. And with our Rider development programme there
are multiple ways to train and gain new skills, so you’ll soon be improving your fitness to no end.

Your speed on a bike can be greatly improved from the combination of added fitness, a smooth cadence and knowing exactly when to apply to power. All of these things will come on greatly riding with us.

Saving you money.
Membership is just £25 per year. Granted a bike isn’t the cheapest of things, but if you already have your bike then riding with us can be a great saving on your regular fitness classes or gym membership.

We have a great range of benefits like high quality kit at an affordable price deals with the local bike shops, and discounts on entrance fees for local Sportives and bike insurance, So you don’t have to carry on spending a small fortune on things you normally would.

Where men and women are equal
The hurdle of joining a new club is perhaps greater when the sense is that it will be full of fitter and better riders - I simply won’t fit in! Taking the plunge can feel even more daunting when the male to female ratio is clearly on the testosterone fuelled side of the equation and the sense of being in a minority is therefore doubly tension inducing - can I really hack it with those sporty types?!

Rest assured, all our members were newbies at one time and for any women seeking the opportunity to get the inside track or just in need of a conversation to get a little bit of extra re-assurance, please contact Nicky our Ladies Committee Member. You might find joining one of her introductory rides for ladies who are thinking of joining and
wanting to learn a little more about group riding would be the ideal next step.

There is no better time than now!
It’s a no brainer really, join us, get out and ride and hopefully you’ll never look back!

Adult Membership

We pride ourselves on being a well-organised club, enabling members to access many different aspects of the sport of cycling.

Club runs are our most popular activity, we often have in excess of 100 riders out on the roads of Hertfordshire (and beyond) on a Sunday. In order to make these and all our club activities as enjoyable and safe as possible, for both riders and other road users alike, we have a defined process for welcoming new members as well as introducing you to our club activities.  

We offer First or Second Claim membership or an Associate membership, the latter for those who wish to join but not participate in our riding activities. To apply to be an Associate member please click here.

First and Second claim membership
Before you join please read the process described below, as it contains some steps which are required to be completed before joining. We also need to collect some information about you. All adults (except Associate members) wishing to join are required to:

  1. Be able to ride a minimum of 50 miles (with a short cafe stop) at an average speed of 13 mph. Our Club runs last a minimum of 4 hours and get back to St. Albans around 1.30pm

  2. Have a working knowledge of the Highway Code

  3. Have good bike control and good road sense e.g. be able to make controlled hand signals, change and use appropriate gears, anticipate actions by other cyclists and road users

    If you are uncertain about this requirement and want more practice or guidance before joining our club then check out the British Cycling website or the free Sky Rides (both men and women).

  4. Have a road bike that is roadworthy and have the right kit.  Essential items are:  helmet, pump and/or gas, tubes x2, tools, first aid, (long rear mudguard when wet). Recommended: gloves, food, drink, café lock, mobile phone, map, tyre boot patch, jacket &/or space blanket, chain splitter & money.  
    Read In your saddlebag for further advice

  5. Attend a new members briefing.
    1. To book a New Members' talk contact Mick.  You will receive an email explaining the purpose, venue, date of the next talk and asking for confirmation that you will be attending

    2. The talk will take approximately 1.5 hours, usually on a Monday evening, with the focus on group riding and safety.  At this talk you can book your place on the next induction ride (see below)

  6. Successfully complete an induction ride
    1. You will have discussed this at the New Members’ talk and after attending will automatically be emailed further details

  7. Have specific Third Party Insurance
    1. This is not expensive and comes as part of the following cycling association memberships: British Cycling(BC) / Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC) - now called Cycling UK / League of Veteran Racing Cyclists (LVRC) / British Triathlon (BT). There are differing advantages in joining these associations e.g. CTC offers discount at 'Cotswolds'. BC entitles members to priority tickets and entry to national and international events.  Both provide excellent information about cycling. 

      Note: VCC affiliation to CTC entitles members to discounted CTC membership & insurance (less than half price) - https://www.ctc.org.uk/join-membership/setup/AFMI. This includes a field to add the affiliate code, available from Mick (rather than the discount code).  If you join British Cycling, you need at least 'Ride' or 'Race Silver' membership to get the benefit of liability insurance.  Note that 'Race Bronze' membership does not include the liability insurance you need before you join us

  8. Pay annual (calendar year) membership- by debit/credit card or PayPal.  Payment is refundable within the first month if you decide not to remain a member.
     

Once you have joined:

  1. You will be issued a mini-membership card / bike fob. Insert your details on this and fix it to your bike.  Tags are normally distributed at, or after, the induction ride

  2. You can purchase club kit. Our distinctive, high quality kit is sold at cost price. Come to our Try-on Club nights (see social events) on Monday evenings from 8.30pm at the Club room, to confirm sizing and place your order. Collection and payment is from Rock&Road Bikes.  This is not compulsory, but we prefer members to ride in club kit whenever possible while taking part in club activities.  Find out about our club kit here.

The next page contains a check sheet that covers the prerequisites to joining, but if at any point you want to talk to us, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. our Membership Secretary.

Complete Checklist >>

Youth Membership

We have different activities designed to introduce children and young people (under 18s) to road cycling and racing and to develop their cycling skills. This also helps prepare them for competitions should they choose to try this. 

Youth memberships are available to riders that meet the riding requirements listed below and are under 18 on the 1st January. To join a Youth member an adult must complete the joining process.

Note: we also offer Youth (Road) memberships for current Youth members who wish to ride with the Sunday Club runs on the open roads. These are strictly limited to only those with proven cycling ability and competency. Applications are subject to approval by a club coach and an additional Parental Consent form must be completed. If interested please email <Davinder>. Youth (Road) memberships are £10 per calendar year.

Youth memberships cost £5 per calendar year. Please note there are sometimes additional session and event costs.

Before joining the youth rider should:

  •  Be a confident bike rider e.g. have successfully completed a Bikeability course or similar. This is essential.
  •  Be able to ride for 1-2 hours on a single bike ride. This is very helpful but not essential.
  •  Have a suitable and safe bike and the right cycling kit. This is essential, in particular you must wear a well fitted cycle helmet.

For each youth rider a Parental Consent form must be completed by their parent/guardian. If at any point you would like to talk to us, please contact our Youth Development Secretary, Davinder Bhatia.

Ready to join a youth member?

There are two steps. 
Step 1 - Complete the Parental Consent form 
Step 2 - Purchase a Youth membership for the year

If you are already a VCC member then please log in before proceeding. If you are not a member, so do not have a log in you will be asked to register first. To sign up more than one youth member just repeat the process.

Continue to >>  Parental Consent Form 

Rider Development image

Our aim is to help any members' who want to help themselves to achieve new cycling goals. 

How do you want to become a better cyclist?

The club has set aside a significant budget for activities designed to help members who want to improve their riding ability and achieve new goals.

  1. Are you aiming for a PB in a Sportive?

  2. Do you want to improve your times in club TT events (or try your first TT)?

  3. Do you want to enter your first race at the Redbourn Fete Du Velo?

  4. Are you looking to ride stronger and move up a group in the Club runs?

We are pleased to have secured support for our programme from Cyclism, the coaching organisation founded and owned by Alex Dowsett.

 

VCC Cyclism logo

 

The programme starts on 23rd April.  Our goal remains to deliver coaching & development activities suitable for all members to help them become better riders or to achieve specific goals (see above).

1) Wednesday Evening Chain Gangs 

What:  A high intensity session designed to improve fitness and riding skills. Led by VRM race team members to lead and advise on technique and keep the group riding together.

Where:  Laps of the Whitwell TT circuit.

When: Commencing 2nd May 2018. Meet at Whitwell Hard Riders Course starting point at 19:30.

Who: Intermediate level up to Rapide.  Split into groups at different pace - dependent on participants & numbers

You need: Road bike, front & rear lights, helmets etc.

Notes: Please join the Slack Chain Gang Channel & confirm attendance weekly

2) Programme Launch & How to construct your own training programme

What:  A talk from James Millard, ex pro rider and Cyclism lead on this programme on how to get the most from the Rider Development Programme & how to build your own training plan to achieve your goals.

Where: Townsend Club

When: 20:00 on Monday 23rd April

Who: Suitable for all

3) Skills development

What: A practical session designed to improve riding techniques and skills following standard BC curriculum

Where: Lea Valley Velopark road track

When: Saturday 12th May 08:00 to 10:00

Who: Suitable for all members. Up to 40 participants, first come first served.  

How much: £10

You need: Road Bike, helmets etc.

Sign up here

4) Team Time Trial Coaching & Practice 

What: A practical coaching session from coach Gareth Pritchard & ex pro rider, James Millard designed to improve team time trial performance.

Where: Lea Valley Velopark Road Track.

When: Saturday 12th May 10:00 to 11:00

Who: Suitable for those interested in entering club or open Team TT events

You need: Road Bike, helmets etc.

Notes: Sign by email to Craig (see below).

5) Nutrition for training & your event

What: A talk from Sports Scientist & Coach Gareth Pritchard

Where: Townsend Club

When: Monday 14th May at 20.00.

Who: Suitable for all.

6) Track session

What: A coaching session for developing track riding skills.

Where: Lea Valley Velodrome.

When: Saturday 19th May 08:00 to 10:00.

Who: Suitable for members who have been through track training and have the necessary basic track bike skills.

You need: Bikes can be rented but bring suitable cycling clothing.

How much: Sign up by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

7) Race Strategy and Preparation for Novice Racers

What: A talk from James Millard/Gareth Pritchard, Pro coach designed to help those interested in entering their first race.

Where: Townsend Club

When: Monday TBC at 20.00.

Who: Anyone interested in racing

 

Interested? Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..