Cycling clubs

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19/06/2014 at 09:50

My bike times are slower than a slug!  I'm figuring the only way I 'might' stand any chance of improving my times are by joining my local club.  I'm slow.  I can keep going all day long at my own pace and regularly ride 40+ miles, with minimal stopping (ie quick gel, waiting for traffic at junctions).

My problem is, I really don't like the idea of riding in big groups.  I'm fine when I go out with 3 or 4 friends (all of which are faster than me), but I know I would be nervous and anxious riding in large groups.  Just a personal thing as I hate holding traffic up in our small group, let alone impatient drivers when there's big cycling club groups.

How can I improve?

19/06/2014 at 09:55
Road to nowhere wrote (see)

My bike times are slower than a slug!  I'm figuring the only way I 'might' stand any chance of improving my times are by joining my local club.  I'm slow.  I can keep going all day long at my own pace and regularly ride 40+ miles, with minimal stopping (ie quick gel, waiting for traffic at junctions).

My problem is, I really don't like the idea of riding in big groups.  I'm fine when I go out with 3 or 4 friends (all of which are faster than me), but I know I would be nervous and anxious riding in large groups.  Just a personal thing as I hate holding traffic up in our small group, let alone impatient drivers when there's big cycling club groups.

How can I improve?

identify what's holding you back and work on eliminating the weakness.  some things you can do sweet FA about such as age (slower as you get older) or genetic inheritance (fast parents usually mean fast kids)

groups rides aren't for everyone for sure, but working with faster people usually helps as you work harder as well.   how about a tri club instead of a bike club??

19/06/2014 at 09:56

Appoach your local cycle club, talk to them and explain your fears....i'm sure its nothing they haven't had before.

Holding up traffic - don't worry you have as much right to be on the road as the cars do and it's down to them (most of the time) to find the right safe time to pass.

Riding in a group is difficult at first but they will hopefully give you a few pointers and with time it will become easier....i know i was worried about this at first now i'm happy to chaingang as 30mph + right on the wheel at front..

 

Hope this helps

19/06/2014 at 10:26

 

 

The club I belong to has max group sizes of 12, but even then we tend to ride as 2 x 6 . Also clubs. Split according to speed or distance. After a year my speed has improved by nearly 2 mph, sounds little but over distance of up to 50 miles, I am happy with that, plus found lots of routes without maps and planning.

19/06/2014 at 10:26

I know exactly what's holding me up - lactic burn!!!  Have great cardio capacity, just no soddin power in my legs. I do plyometrics, weights, prisoner squats but find it strange that none of it seems to benefit my cycling.  Been making great progress with my running times though. My mates spin the pedals and fly up the hills.  I spin the pedals and seem to go backwards.  The thigh burn kicks in and then I have to get up on my toes to reach the top - not exactly the most efficient - and I'm still way behind.  On the flip side, I am on the wrong side of 45, just about ride side of 50, but is this really an excuse?  Frustrating doesn't even come close!

I went on the local bike club website and sadly realise it will not be for me.  Their club rides are a steady 15-18mph!  I ride around 13-14mph, but could I sustain that speed all the time - doubtful.  I would have to have a few recovery sections when I slow a little.  Riding with a club ride I think would be the quickest way of destroying what little confidence I have.  Thank you and will just keep doing my spinning classes and riding with my mates when they're tired

19/06/2014 at 11:48

RTN - doing all those things to help improve leg power won't actually have as much benefit as riding more.  if you struggle with hills - train on hills.   that's been proven many times by people on here and elsewhere.  personally I'm not convinced that spinning classes make you a stronger rider - great for CV fitness but not for real world cycling imho.  you're better off using a bike turbo.  also MTBing is great for building leg strength for the bike

cheeky question - how heavy are you?  if you can reduce weight, then that will help you get up hills quicker.

19/06/2014 at 11:52

Ha ha ha.  I'm around 8st 9lbs so does that mean I should be flying up hills (pmsl).  I will do hills, more hills and even more hills.  Also doing a mountain bike orienteering event on Sunday, but I rarely take my mountain bike out I must admit.  Will dust off the cobwebs.  Sounds like I just need to get out more.

Might be a silly question, but why is a bike turbo better than doing a spinning class?

cougie    pirate
19/06/2014 at 12:32
If you want to get good at cycling - then cycle. You need miles in the legs. Bin the gym.

Everyone is nervous about riding in groups to begin with - you soon get used to it though.

Spin class is better than nothing - i teach it - and its basically a turbo session on spin bikes - but its for a different audience - I couldn't give them a steady effort to maintain throughout the class - you have to keep their interest up. Shorter intervals and its only 40 mins long - whereas with a turbo you do exactly what the plan says and most are an hour long.

If you have a turbo and a laptop - look up trainerroad. Its awesome.
19/06/2014 at 12:43

Thanks Cougie.  I'm not a gym junkie and will probably still go to the gym twice a week as do find weights helpful.  I usually go spinning before/after a 45 minute gym session.  I mainly do a lot of my run training on the track (intervals) and longer runs at the weekend.  Might ditch some spin classes and get out on the bike instead and take in some hills.

19/06/2014 at 12:44

or Sufferfest videos

19/06/2014 at 12:57

I don't where your local bike club is. I know the club I belong to in Bath, recognised the problem with the Sunday "social ride" still being 50-60 miles at a pace some people struggle with. As a result we also run rides on Saturday that are shorter and slower (25 or 40 miles at 10-13mph or so). They are usually groups of about 6 or and people are happy to bumble along with the slowest.

There are two other bike clubs in Bath (that I know about). One also runs slower shorter sessions to bring people on and the other one is the generally more sedate (that's not a dig, they just like to admire the views) CTC.

Don't just rely on the website, e-mail the club and ask. I am sure you will get a friendly reply and good advice.

Good Luck

seren nos yn canu    pirate
19/06/2014 at 13:03

if you ride 13/14 mph on your own.which is what i usually do.then you will have no problem riding in a group doing 15-18.........

I would give it a go......

The effect of riding in a large groups make s a hell of a difference to your speed.....

I'm glad I joined one as it has definitely helped my cycling./

but i did find that the first one I tried was too small and only had one or two groups....I was too slow really.....

the second one I tried was much bigger with lots of female members and so found that i could stick with the groups 

19/06/2014 at 13:25
Road to nowhere wrote (see)
I went on the local bike club website and sadly realise it will not be for me.  Their club rides are a steady 15-18mph!  I ride around 13-14mph, but could I sustain that speed all the time - doubtful.


Seren nos beat me to it, but I'd back that up - if you're riding 13-14mph on your own then you'll be able to go comfortably faster riding in a group. The same is true of distance - any distance you ride on your own is going to be easier as part of a group, so ultimately you should be able to go further riding with others.

The Silent Assassin    pirate
19/06/2014 at 13:44

apart from when its your turn on the front

19/06/2014 at 14:13

Always wear dull colours and lurk at the back

Yellow and black are not helpful colours to be hiding

Edited: 19/06/2014 at 14:14
seren nos yn canu    pirate
19/06/2014 at 14:26

I would contact the club and talk to them.most are getting more exclusive nowadays

19/06/2014 at 14:35

Yes give them a call RTN you'll probably find that the group's are split into 15mph average and 18mph average to accommodate all unless they're a very small club.

19/06/2014 at 14:50

Thank you, thank you.  They have a club night social on Fridays and it's only down the road from me, so might turn up to have a chat with them.  Just fed up with being constantly overtaken so hoping if I can feel OK-ish with a group of my ability I'll keep going.  Off to grind out some hills tonight with a firend.

19/06/2014 at 23:22

Road2N - unlike running it's hard to get an accurate idea of how good you are on a bike as it's so affected by gradient, surface, wind, equipment etc.   With cycling clubs though remember a lot of them will be doing a lot of miles too.  

20/06/2014 at 08:38

Ha ha. Well I did a nice reasonably undulating route with a couple of 'good' hills last night.  I'm in Surrey so it's not flat anywhere.  Pity I decided to cycle across a bridge, submerged under a ford.  Actually, I didn't cycle across the bridge, I fell off scraped knee, hip and elbow (ha ha ha)!  Elbow and shoulder socket quite sore today.  Not sure if I would have been better off falling into the water, than onto the concrete bridge, but you have no time to think about that - one second on two wheels, next second hitting the deck on tarmac!!  Was a lovely 30 mile route though (took me 2 hours) and not too hot.  Will try and get to the cycle club night this evening and maybe pluck up the courage to join one of their starter rides. If I'm too slow, then at least I will know and will just keep plugging away as much as I can by myself, until I'm a bit faster.

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