Although it might not be riding weather in many states right now, what better time to seek out your fellow bikers, make new friends and really get to know them BEFORE Spring riding starts.
How to Choose a Bike Club
By Fred Matheny for www.RoadBikeRider.com
Cycling can be a solo sport. Long rambles through the spring countryside, hard rides in the hills, weekend tours to scenic areas-all can be enjoyed with only your own thoughts for company.
In fact, many cyclists prefer to go alone. Then they can choose their own route and are free to ride hard or stop and smell the flowers, as their fancy prefers.
But cycling is also the perfect group sport. Here are just five good reasons for riding with others:
* Part of the thrill of riding a road bike is drafting other cyclists in
* A group lets you meet people, expanding your social horizons.
* Racing is inevitably a group activity, so if you plan to compete it's
almost mandatory to train with other racers at least part of the time.
* Small group rides are fast because you can share the work at the
front. You can cover more ground during your training time.
* Small groups are safe because a pack of several riders is that much
more visible to motorists. And if you have trouble of any sort, help is
To get these benefits, it's a good idea to join a bike club even if you ride alone much of the time due to preference or your schedule.
But if there are two or more clubs in your area, how do you know which one to join? It depends on what you want to do and how you want to do it. Are you interested in recreational rides or racing?
Get to know area cyclists and ask why they joined the club they did. Go to club events to watch the organization and feel the atmosphere. Sit in on a club's monthly meeting to hear about issues and see what kind of people are at the helm.
Participate in club rides and tune in to the tenor of the group. Is it supportive or critical of other riders? Remember, if you enjoy cycling, you should enjoy it even more in the company of fellow riders. It pays to pick your club carefully.