[ 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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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