Updated: May 8, 2019
Joining a cycling club can be a daunting step in your life as a cyclist. It could also be the catalyst that launches you into many cycling adventures and escapades.
You see, people of all abilities join clubs to get out in group rides and improve. They almost invariably get quicker as time passes by. Starting in the clubs slower steady groups (where they are initiated in the group ways), they begin get the cycling bug. Soon enough those 14 mile and hour average speed rides are done without breaking sweat. The urge is there to move into the intermediate group, and sure enough it happens. "
“You can’t get good by staying home. If you want to get fast, you have to go where the fast guys are” – Steve Larsen"
The speed is now up at 16mph and club members are encouraging you to do more. When it gets tough on a ride, you can be sure that there is a club member offering you their wheel. Someone will always help you, or slow down with you when you are feeling the pace. This is a sacrifice group members will make to help progressive riders get along. It is a unwritten rule that those that are nurtured and helped along, will willingly return the favour to the next intake of new riders.
Now you fancy a crack at the quickest rides, 17+mph rides. The guys and gals here are relentless with their pace, but still have time to give you a wheel when it's getting too much. The ethics of a club should be to always help those less fortunate than yourself. Stay humble and be strong for those who need help.
You reach a point where you are testing your physical and mental perimeters on every ride. It feels great even when you return from a ride and your thighs are burning. Your debrief after the rides are full of stories about hills you conquered and descents you powered down at death defying speeds. You glance across the table and notice the old hand who gave you his wheel 12 months ago when you were struggling on the steady ride. Next week he will be on your group ride and you can and should be offering him your wheel when the heat comes on. This is what makes group cycling so worthy. The friendships that are forged out of pain and sweat. The help that is handed out at a cost to the helper, without any thought of compensation.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
If your thinking of joining a club i urge you to do so, but stay humble as you progress.