Working out, commuting to work or cruising around town are the activities you can do when cycling a bike on your own. However, other aspects such as socialising, making new friends or discovering new routes are the things you will be missing out on without joining a group cycling. Troy Kniveton, our International Account Manager at Reid International HQ in Bournemouth, England, who has recently started taking part in a local weekly group cycle. Let’s see what Troy has to say about not riding solo…
How and when did you decide to join group cycling?
My local bike shop and café run a weekly ride as well as a monthly ride which attracts a number of riders of all disciplines to go for a ride to a bakery for Pizza.
Do you need to be a member of a cycling club to ride in a cycling group?
No, not at all. I am not a member of a cycling club, but I like to find cycling clubs that are inviting and social. Due to work commitments, I am often away so it’s important for me to find rides which are both social but also casual.
Can you provide some information on a general cycling group? In terms of size, level, duration, age group, frequency and etc.
Cycling groups vary so much which is great as this increases the likelihood to find one that suits your needs and requirements. My stepbrother rides in a cycling club every Saturday morning with a regular group of 5, whereas my cycling clubs/rides can vary in size dramatically from 14 – 32. Depending on the size, however, it is important that the route is properly planned as a large group riding at a peak time can increase the chances of incidents happening.
What do cyclists need to prepare before group cycling?
A general knowledge of bike maintenance as well as a level of fitness that ensures you can finish the ride and keep up is recommended. Again, each club is different so a casual ride would require less cycling knowledge than a more competitive ride. I will say however that the most important thing for both group rides and individual rides is a basic understanding of safe road cycling. It’s also worth noting that when riding in groups, the communication is more vocal when informing other riders of potential hazards or if the road is clear. You will notice riders in front making pointing gestures behind their back or by their side highlighting potholes or the shout of “CAR!” move down the Peloton, which is a jargon for ‘cycling group’.
Are there any other activities in a cycling group, besides cycling together?
Most rides will have a mid-point break at a coffee shop, café or Bakery which allows time to chat and refuel before the ride back. This is often a great marker to know how much of the ride is left but also you get the reward of some nice food and coffee to motivate you to push on. The ride/club I go out with also organises camping trips/events each year which consist of daily rides followed by camping in the evening. The campground will be pre set up for riders and catering, beer and entertainment are provided which promotes the fun and social aspect of cycling.
Compared with solo riding, how do you enjoy group cycling? What are the benefits of group cycling that you might not be able to experience if cycling alone?
The social side of group cycling is the main difference. It’s great to socialise, meet new people and enjoy the company of others who have a passion for cycling. Other than that, I find it pushes me harder to cycle in a group as you don’t decide the pace and it can bring out the competitive nature in you to push harder. I’d also say riding in a group ride will also help you understand and learn more routes and rides in your local area which is always a great benefit.
What advice do you have for beginners who never join group cycling before?
It seems like a bit of a cliché, but the truth is to just go out and give it a go. I’d certainly make sure you are joining a ride that you can finish, so make sure you find out the distance and what level of riding is required. As previously mentioned, a basic understanding of road safety, bike maintenance and fitness is also recommended. Other than that, just enjoy it and go out have fun!
At Reid, we believe that when life is experienced on two wheels, we become healthier, more mindful, more focused people. So our job is to help them realise; to inspire, motivate and empower people to get out of the car, onto their bike and into the open world beyond. Getting to experience the enjoyment of cycling by yourself is delightful enough, yet sharing the journey with the right group can make bonds for life!
Ready to hit the road on a group ride? Check out the Reid range.