{Guest Post} Group Cycling (Part 1)

8 09 2011

Are you dried out yet? While we were experiencing rain ALL DAY LONG yesterday, Chloe was experiencing a different kind of rain. She was south of the equator, exploring the rainforests of Brazil. Yes, I said Brazil. I’m slightly incredibly jealous, but I’m sure she’ll have some exciting stories and pictures for when she returns! In the meantime, we’ve got a guest post lined up for you from yet another world traveler. Courtney, from Passionate 4 Life, is currently in Beijing, and will be competing in the ITU World Championships this weekend. Pretty impressive, right? Her post is in two parts, so stay tuned for the second half!

Hello 321 Delish readers! My name is Courtney and my blog Passionate 4 Life talks about racing experiences and different things I’ve learned as a triathlete the past five years and as a competitive swimmer for ten years.

My first experience cycling with a group in 2007 was slightly embarrassing. Aside from my goofy attempt to recreate a cycling outfit, I had no clue what I was doing. This was maybe my second or third time out on the road. A friend invited me to join a smaller weekday ride that went 25 miles at a pretty decent pace. At the major turn my Dasani water bottle flew out of the holder causing the group to swerve and call out “Bottle!”. I lasted about 10 miles before getting dropped and was determined to master riding with a group.

    

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After getting a proper water bottle and talking to a few experienced cyclists, I was ready to try again. No safety mishaps the next time but I got dropped again before the 20 mile mark. Third try was a charm and I held on the entire ride and loved every minute of the socializing, advice, and challenge of riding with a group. Check out How to look like a Pro from Cycling Tips.

So, why should you ride with a group? It’s a way to meet new cyclists and triathletes. Time flies by on a 40 mile ride. Drafting allows you to ride at a much faster speed. Learn new routes. It’s fun!

So here’s some of the advice I’ve learned along the way through experience and talking to other people.

How to find a group

1. Search online using terms like “tampa cycling club”, “tampa triathlon club”, “tampa group rides”, “tampa bike groups”, etc.

2. Check out local bike shops by checking out their website and calling. Ask about group ride schedules.

3. Talk to other cyclists. Some of this information isn’t online and the only way to find out is through networking. It’s great community and usually cyclists are eager to point you in the direction of a group ride that will fit your needs.

How to decide the group is right for you

1. Determine the route, distance, and speed. Most cycling clubs will have this information posted online. If you are talking to a cycling friend or a bike shop, simply ask. “Where does the group ride?”, “How far is the route and are there alternative distances?” “What’s the average speed?”. If there’s a map, then print it out or have somebody draw it for you.

2. Determine if the ride is “newbie” friendly. Look for phrases like “No-drop ride” or “All cyclists welcome”. You may be an experienced solo rider but your first group ride should be a safe and comfortable experience.

3. Determine the level you are riding at because many rides will have different groups. Generally, the “A group” will be a fast drop ride. The average speed is 22-28 mph and the group won’t slow down or wait for you to catch up if you fall off the pack. These rides are fast and fun but not good for your first time with a group…no matter how strong of a rider you are. The “B group” is usually a little slower and no-drop with an average speed of 19-24 mph, while the “C group” is a little slower 16-19 mph average and they will slow down or wait for you to stay with the group….meaning they are no-drop. The C group is ideal for a first time group rider.

Come back on Monday for some tips on what to do before and during the ride!

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5 responses

8 09 2011
sarah

I like the guest post.

I have only done a few group rides and still need to learn alot about group riding, although they are fun.

8 09 2011
Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather

Great info! I’ve never joined a group ride before… Unless biking with my hubs brother counts 😉

9 09 2011
katie

I love group riding, but it was a big adjustment when I started! I think everyone gets dropped the first few times. 🙂

9 09 2011
321delish

You’re a rockstar at cycling! I need to do more group rides!

9 09 2011
idiosyncraticeye

I’m a waggler (and a pretty poor rider as well) so group riding is definitely not for me! 😉

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