Question for Clubs

Discussion in 'Cycling Clubs' started by galgoman, 23 May 2018.

  1. galgoman

    galgoman Regular

    Back in the mid 70's I was lucky to belong to a very active and inclusive club. It was split between pedestrian, touring and racing interests.

    What I see as a major threat to all three interests is cost and opportunity. To race or even tour these days seriously you need to be from a family of heart surgeons or hedge fund managers to be able to afford riding a bike that is crafted for your interest. Back in the day, we used to have a Century ride every Sunday, a time trial every wednesday and group peleton rides several evenings a week, open and encouraged to everyone to participate and especially new riders to the sport to learn how to ride in a group. I would really like to know if clubs are more elitist these days or inclusive in getting as many people involved in cycling either competitively or touring? The clubs I see riding in my area these days all look like their bike cost as much as their car and most importantly missing is a diversity of riders who are the future of the sport.
    Last edited: 23 May 2018
  2. DCLane

    DCLane Found in the Yorkshire hills ...

    Mine's got the whole lot; elitist through to those just starting out. I'm on the beginner's ride tomorrow night and we'll see all sorts of bikes, possibly with me on a 1990's Raleigh Pioneer.

    Racing's got more expensive but there'll be starter bikes there as well.
    Dogtrousers and galgoman like this.
  3. I’ve encountered several clubs that like to pretend they’re ‘all inclusive’ and ‘welcoming’ but that’s usually an ‘easily removed veneer’ and they’ve turned out to be as tw@y as every other club, in reality. Any activity that involves ‘clubiness’ is going to attract a certain amount of tree house politics playing muppets. ‘Cycling’ is a broad church, you need to look beyond the narrow band of cliquey clubbies, and you’ll see that it’s actually still very accessible, and pretty inclusive. It’s all about perspective.
    Milkfloat likes this.
  4. mjr

    mjr Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next

    Just to +1 much of what @Dogtrousers wrote, plus to add that some don't charge a membership fee (some get their costs covered otherwise, including sponsorship, while others do a donation drive when needed) and many now call themselves "group", "wheelers", "BUG" or various other things rather than "club" - possibly partly because of the connotations of "club". Many clubs are fine and wonderful things, but some aren't and I'm sure that the OP didn't develop the negative impression out of nothing.
    Dogtrousers likes this.
  5. Dave Davenport

    Dave Davenport Legendary Member

    I've known a few people to move to my club after 'not getting on' at another club, only to not 'get on' at mine and move on again and then I hear they've quit that one too (a couple have come back for a bit before disappearing). Makes you wonder who's got the problem.
    derrick and screenman like this.
  6. ColinJ

    ColinJ It's a puzzle ...

    I was coming down the long Cragg Vale descent with a non-cyclist** friend yesterday evening when she got a puncture. She didn't know how to fix it so I was doing it for her and explaining what I was doing as I went along. Over the next few minutes a club ride went past us up the hill. I have been overtaken on that climb numerous times by serious racing club riders (e.g. Manchester Wheelers) and have virtually been elbowed out of their way***. This club was something else altogether ... The bikes varied from cheap-and-cheerful to expensive-looking, the riders from slim-and-fast to bigger-and-slower but what they had in common was that most of them called out cheery hellos and asked if we needed any help with the puncture. I probably got more offers of help in 5 minutes than I have had in my previous 30 years of roadside fault-fixing. They were a really friendly crowd. I would be interested to know what club it was.

    ** Okay, she was on a bike, so technically she is a cyclist, but she usually only averages 1-2 rides a year. I'm encouraging her so it is up to about 10 rides in the past year.

    *** To be fair, they are usually going 'full-gas' up the hill and the riders behind the one in front are grovelling to stay on the wheel. They probably have tunnel vision by then. It would be nice if the front rider gave me the 1.5 metres clearance that car drivers are supposed to though, rather than leading a mini-peloton past at 35 km/hr only half a metre from my right elbow! :whistle:
    Katherine likes this.
  7. screenman

    screenman Legendary Member

    Blimey, that saved me some typing. I also have come across the same on many occasions.
  8. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    If your only bike is a 1990s Raleigh Pioneer then one bike is enough, it's all you need:okay:.

    DCLane likes this.
  9. rogerzilla

    rogerzilla Guru

    Be wary of any club that has a "club run" and an alternative "beginners' ride". The club run will turn into an eyeballs-out effort wound up by the Cat 1 racers at the front . 29mph on the flat, I kid you not, and if you lose the slipstream you won't see them again that day. Meanwhile, the beginners' ride withers on the vine (I've seen it badged as "also for women and juniors"...they might as well have added "cripples" to cap its unattractiveness to anyone moderately fit). Anyone in the middle is squeezed out and doesn't bother.

    Better clubs send the racers off on their own club run where they can happily tear along at 30mph, then everyone meets up at the same cafe.
  10. PaulSB

    PaulSB Legendary Member

    I would have to disagree with @rogerzilla regarding “club run” and “beginners.”

    My club runs the following groups Intro (12-13) Progression (13-14), Club (15-16), Inters (14-17 and potentially 5-6000+ feet) Sporting (20+) and Racing (23+). Averages in brackets. Intro is intended to introduce people to group Cycling but in reality this, along with the Club ride, has evolved in to a leisurely paced social ride.

    All our rides have a definition or description of what a rider can expect on the ride. The club ethos is no one is dropped even when a rider insists the group leave him/her. We do let experienced male riders drop off or leave the group if they wish but we would never leave a female rider - not through ability but because of other potential threats to women.

    Should a newbie turn up to try a ride he/she will be looked after. If they have clearly chosen the wrong ride the other options for future rides will be gently pointed out. Should someone repeatedly turn out for a ride which is beyond them a quiet word will be had.

    We also run four training rides on a Tuesday evening. One leaves early for distance and speed everyone knows it’s eyeballs out. The other three rides leave on the same route at two minute intervals. Riders join whichever they wish. The idea is start with the fastest you can hack, drop off if necessary and join the one behind. The third, slowest, group picks up everyone and stays together.

    Thursday night we run hilly training. All riders set off together on the same route, hills at own pace with defined regroup spots. Usually a more experienced rider will drop back to encourage others. At the end we all go to the pub!

    We have TT and Racing sections.

    All official Club rides, the above, have a route published in advance. The exception being the Sporting Ride which decides on the day depending on who turns out.

    There are also three informal rides Hilly Wednesday, Friday Fry Up and Wide Awake Club (6.00am start).

    We feel this caters for everyone. Where there is a problem is with riders wanting to move up a level. Once a month the club and Inters rides put on an easier route as a taster. The biggest difficulty though is getting people to understand two things - moving up will hurt and requires real effort. Secondly that no one minds if someone who is truly trying slows the pace down.

    Membership is £20 and one major benefit is members get free access to the club Premium RidewithGPS account. Individual Premium membership direct to RWGPS would be £57pa.

    We wave and smile at everyone.
  11. Dave Davenport

    Dave Davenport Legendary Member

    Yea but, despite all that, your club (and hence you and all the members) are tw@y, as every single club in existence is.
  12. ColinJ

    ColinJ It's a puzzle ...

    I think it is good that you prefer to not leave male riders behind but who judges how 'experienced' those male riders are? If I told someone that I was happy to fix my own problem or ride back alone then I would expect my wishes to be complied with. I would feel pretty annoyed if somebody said that I was not capable of looking after myself and refused to go on.

    Similarly, I think it is good to reassure women that they will not be left alone in the middle of nowhere but if a woman insists that she is okay to be left then it seems a bit patronising to tell her that she is wrong!
  13. PaulSB

    PaulSB Legendary Member

    By calling me tw@y I presume you are attempting an insult. I don’t know you, you don’t know me and there is no reason to react in this way. It says a lot about you.
  14. Dave Davenport

    Dave Davenport Legendary Member

    I was assuming you'd read all the previous posts (i.e the third) and that you'd realise where I was coming from, my mistake.
  15. PaulSB

    PaulSB Legendary Member

    Thank you and I apologise if I’ve misinterpreted you. I had read all the posts. I don’t know what “tw@y” means. Perhaps I’ve misinterpreted it, perhaps not. I simply don’t know.
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