I’m not sure there is a professional rider, or even half decent amateur, who isn’t a member of their local bike club. For some people when they come into a new sport they understand that a club is a great place to not just further their ability or performance but to make new friends and contacts within their new found love. For others it is more of a barrier. It could be the fear of being dropped or anxiety about being the weakest rider, maybe it’s nerves about meeting new people or not knowing or loving the sport as much as everyone else, and in fairness they are all valid points but we have all been there, we have all been the “new guy” and now we are all integrated members of a club – proof enough that it can’t be that bad!
And in reality I only know of a few clubs where you’ll find any of the above worries are applicable and they tend to be racing clubs or teams and they are open about being for already very competent riders, or those looking to race. It’s not hard to tell the difference, the club website should provide enough information on the type of rider that makes up their membership.
Almost all clubs I know allow you to join them on a few rides before having to join so you can go out on a couple of Sunday club rides, where there’s the opportunity to be more social and meet more people. Most clubs operate a “no-drop” ride where everyone finishes together, no one left behind. But all of this is usually available on their club website or through their club secretary. You should be able to find a ride with someone everyday of the week & this will open the door to you finding new routes, good roads, great cafes and you get to see much more of the beautiful country we live in!
Here’s my top 10 reasons to join a club:
- Improve your performance; if you want that
- Improve your technical ability; group riding, advice and even group skills sessions
- Improve your knowledge of the sport
- Improve your understanding of the bike and bike maintenance
- Grow your list of competent cycling professionals; coaches, shops, masseurs
- Advice on what to do or what not to do, what to buy or what not to buy
- Will motivate you to ride in poor conditions
- Opportunities to try other discipline of cycling; track days, CX, MTB
- Make new friends
- You look like an idiot pitching up at a cafe on your own 😉
I know that everyone loves to be left on their own every now and again, doesn’t mean you have to be alone all the time! So if you’re not a member already why not enquire at your local club, what’s the worse thing that could happen?