Cycling can be great fun as a solo sport, but it can take on a whole new dimension once it becomes a social activity. Cycling clubs are one of the fastest growing communities in the United Kingdom and it is no surprise why.
Joining a cycling club can be a really rewarding experience for new members. There are a lot of benefits associated with being part of a dedicated cycling group.
A cycling club is a great place for specialist knowledge about bikes and cycling. In a local group, people are also more accountable for the information that they share, meaning that it is often more reliable than the information that you will find in online forums. A local group acts as a knowledge sharing network, so that group members can all learn and share with one another. If you have any questions about the sport then you should be able to find an answer from your local cycling club. Areas of knowledge can include; training tips, health and fitness idea, recovery plans and discussions about the best cycling gear.
A local club is also a great place to find information about the local area. As well as finding out about great new cycle routes, you may also gain information about the best local cycle shops. You may even find out about some cycle-friendly cafes and pubs that you can visit the next time that you are out on your bike. This can help you to support the local cycling community and get more enjoyment out of your local area.
The route knowledge that you gain from other club members can help you to avoid dangerous roads and learn about the rides which are best for your personal cycling needs.
Global Riding Opportunities
Most cycling clubs organise an annual trip to a foreign destination, such as France or Spain. Some clubs even go as far as the Great Wall of China! These trips offer club members the chance to go to some of the world’s best riding destinations as part of a friendly group.
If you have always wanted to go on a cycling holiday, then a club trip could be a wonderful opportunity to fulfil this dream. The club itself will actually do most of the organisation, so you will not need to struggle with the logistics of the trip. Large groups are often able to negotiate discounts on transport and accommodation, so taking a trip as part of a cycling club may also be more economical for you.
Companionship and New Friendships
Joining any club is an opportunity to make new friends. Joining a group of people who already have a common interest can give you the chance to meet new people who you may not have met otherwise. Pushing yourselves together on a difficult ride is a great way to form a solid friendship. Having companionship on rides can help people to push themselves harder and achieve more when they are riding. Most cycling clubs also run social events to allow members to mingle away from their bikes.
Training and Competitions
Most clubs will run training rides for members. These training sessions are specifically designed to help club members to improve their riding skills by pushing riders to do their best. Club training programmes enable members to move outside of their comfort zones without putting themselves at risk. Most new club members find that their personal bests start improving as soon as they join a club.
Club members also have an increased access to competitive rides, as some competitions are only open to those who are registered with an accredited club. If you want to compete with other people of similar skill levels, then a club is a great place to go.
Riding with a club can make you safer when you are out on your rides. If someone in the group does fall or sustain an injury then the rest of the group will be better placed to provide support. Some members can stay with the injured parties whilst other group members can go and find help. This is especially important when riding in remote areas where there may be low or no phone signal.
In addition to this, club members are often covered by improved insurance cover which is held by the club. Riding with others also means that riders are less likely to get lost and that the consequences are less serious if the group does stray off of the intended route.
Many local clubs have been able to negotiate discounts and deals with local (or national) sports shops. In exchange for an agreed discount for members, the clubs help the sports shops by promoting that particular shop to its members. This type of mutual relationship is beneficial to both parties.
Finding a local cycling group
The best place to find a local cycling club in the UK is the British Cycling website. This website has a “Club Finder” feature which allows users to find local affiliated clubs. The search feature also lets users filter their results so that they can find the clubs which are most suited to their own needs or desires. Many cycling groups will also advertise their details in local sports shops. These shops are keen to promote their customers’ sporting interests and they know that local groups are a great way to do this.