Riding For The Club

I wrote a month ago about taking part in my first club run with Weaver Valley Cycling Club. It was a tough yet rewarding experience. I've since been on 2 further runs and decided to join the club.

I'm glad I took the plunge and went on that first run. I'm learning all the time riding with the club, slowly building my confidence thanks to the amazing support in the bunch. I've already made some good friends. It isn't a piece of cake, I'm right back at the beginning of the learning curve and just hope I don't let the club down.

So what would I say if you're thinking of joining a cycling club.

1) It is relentless. You'll be riding at 20-22 miles an hour plus constantly. There is no respite and at times you'll be flying along on the front and before you know it hanging on at the back. I struggle because of my weight, many of the guys are slim and scamper up hills no problem. I'm really fortunate I've found a great club that will hang on for 10 seconds while I'll catch up.

2) The short runs aren't just a nip round the block. The short runs will be about 40-50 miles, and don't think that if you're going to Congleton you'll be going straight there, you'll most likely take the long route there or most definitely have a loop added in.

3) Get some endurance in. I wouldn't join a club unless you're easily doing 30-40 miles non-stop at a 18-20 mile an hour pace. You'll be able to ride with the bunch ok but it won't be a leisurely ride as I've found out.

4) Get a road bike. Don't turn up on a mountain bike. You don't need the best kit, just a road bike and road tyres.

5) Get some sportive practice in. I would get at least year of riding in sportives, the miles will do you good and you'll also get experience in riding with groups at a pace. It is a good way of monitoring you're level of fitness.

Joining any club can be daunting, read up on the club and ask the local bike shop if the club is right for you (some are really pretentious, some are very leisurely). I knew Weaver Valley had an excellent reputation, fair, friendly but competitive. They host and take part in a number of bike races throughout the season and have a column in the local paper so I knew right at the beginning that I wanted to join Weaver Valley but I needed to be at a really good level before that first ride.


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