Many riders are put off joining a cycling club by tales of novices being spat out of the back of training rides or unfriendly and intimidating attitudes. This couldn’t be further from the truth with Hafren. Joining a club is one of the best ways to improve your cycling skills and fitness while making like-minded friends.
Why should I come on a club run?
It’s the best way to progress your cycling. You’ll learn how to ride safely and efficiently in a group and it’s far easier to head out for a winter training ride knowing you’ll be with a group of mates rather than on your own. It’s a great way to find new routes and improve technique and fitness.
Does the club offer different levels of rides?
Yes. There are a number of groups heading out reflecting a range of abilities and type. Our Sunday Club Ride is a social affair. We usually have an A, and B group, depending on numbers. The A group is faster, but will often ride the same route as the B, just faster and without a café stop.
How fit and fast do I need to be?
You’ll need a reasonable level of fitness but you definitely don’t need to be super fit. If you can ride your bike for 15-20 miles, you’ll be able to ride 30 and join a club run. On our B rides the average speed is around 14-15 mph usually with a café stop. Remember the average speed of a group is considerably faster than a solo rider, so don’t gauge this by your solo average speed.
Will I be dropped if I’m too slow?
No. group rides are “no –drop” rides. The pace of the group is dictated by the slowest rider. The group may split up on climbs, but faster riders will wait and you’ll regroup at the top and catch your breath. In the event of a serious problem that stops you being able to stay with the group (such as a mechanical failure) the group may ride on, but you will not be left alone.
When you first head out with the club, ride with the slowest group. If you find it too easy, you can move up over the following weeks until you find your right level. It’s better to underestimate your ability than to really struggle and be put off.
Would I be welcome if I’m not experienced riding in a group?
Yes, everyone has to learn somewhere and a club run is the ideal place. Check out some of the content on Group Riding for some helpful tips beforehand.
Do I need to do anything special with my bike setup?
The most important thing is that your bike is well maintained and roadworthy. Many riders will have mudguards as they make riding in a group on winter roads much more enjoyable. If you’re a triathlete, remove your aerobars. No Mountain bikes or Hybrids.
What else should I bring?
A couple of spare inner tubes, tyre levers, a pump (or CO2 canister) and a multi-tool. Even if you don’t know how to use them, someone will help you fix a puncture, but should not be expected to give up their own tube (they might need it).
Enough food and drink to fuel your ride. Don’t underestimate this. You probably need 1 piece of food each hour. You can fuel at the café stop, but better to bring some home than run out. Also remebr the food belongs in your stomach, not in your pockets, so eat small amounts at short time interval (so perhaps 1/2 a bar every 30 minutes) A small amount of money for the café or extra food and water (if you haven’t brought enough)
A fully charged, unlocked mobile phone with an I.C.E (In Case of Emergency) number stored on it.
Personal identification, any specific medical details and a debit or credit card (in case of emergency)
You will be required to wear a protective cycle helmet on club rides
Dress appropriately for the weather and remember that over the course of a ride it may change. Cycle specific clothing works best – if in doubt go and see the club sponsor Brooks Cycles, for friendly, professional help.