Well, I just got back from our Deadgoat spring meeting, and it did me good to see some familiar faces and start talkin’ bikes in earnest again… The sun is finally shining and it’s time to do something about it!
One of the nicest things when we all get together after the thaw is seeing some new faces… It’s the constant injection of new personalities that keeps our clubs and race scene thriving and healthy.
So, in the spirit of new blood I thought I would take a moment of pause all the “long time listeners, first time callers” out there who stop by the blog from time to time and may have never belonged to cycling club. One of the best things about joining a club is that oftentimes it’s about a lot more than just racing.
Most clubs will offer some mix of the following:
- Great community of riders / people that you can recognize at the races
- Support at the races (ie. tent, gear, etc)
- Mentorship with more senior riders
- A sense of camraderie
- Weekday/training rides
- Discounts at local bike shops
- Get to wear a cool jersey
- BBQs and get togethers
- A support group you can ask questions about bikes/training/nutrition/etc.
- Opportunity to volunteer or commissaire races (if you’re not wanting to race all the time)
But not every club is for every rider – Some of the things you may want to think about prior to selecting a club are:
- Look for a club that offers rides at a level you’re comfortable with – You’re not going to be happy if you’re just starting out in the sport and every ride is a 90km hammerfest determined to drop the last rider.
- Look for the ladies – Many women are most comfortable riding with other women (though not all care), there are plenty of clubs that have a good mix of both genders and even some women-only clubs.
- Look at what types of events the club puts on or supports – If you’re a roadie looking to improve your time trialing, you’re probably not going to want to be part of an enduro-focussed mountain bike club. Do your homework.
- Talk to your local bike shop – Many times shops may have a club associated with them, and if you’re looking to support your LBS even more, what’s better than wearing their name on your back… In all seriousness though, even if you don’t join your LBS club, most employees at the shop will know the ins and outs of most of the clubs in your city.
If you’ve ever thought about a club, I’m here to tell you it’s worth it. It get’s you involved in something a little bigger than yourself, sometimes gets you out of your comfort zone and is almost always a ton of fun. I would encourage you to do some investigation as to what clubs are around your area.
For those in Alberta, the ABA has a good handle on what’s available here.
So how about our readers? Why are many of you in a club?