10 Reasons to join a Cycling Club

10 Reasons to join a Cycling Club

10 Reasons why now is the ideal time to join a Cycling Club

Since the start of the Pandemic, there has been a surge in the number of people cycling but maybe not surge in cycling club membership. The increase in cyclists is a mixture of people who started cycling during the lock-downs and accomplished riders looking to get out more often. But what can the benefits be of being a member of a cycling group or club?

1. Your club mates will motivate you to ride.
Being part of a group or club means making a commitment to other members. On a wet and rainy morning, when you don’t particularly fancy a ride and probably wouldn’t if on your own, knowing your club mates will be there at the agreed place and time and destination decided, you would probably turn out to meet them. Club rides are regular sessions on pre-determined routes where you get to know other members, discover new places to ride and test your ability as you progress in fitness and skills. Commitment to a date and time every week is motivation to ensure that you get out of the door – come rain or shine!

2. You will be among like-minded people.
The great thing about being in a group is that you all come together from different areas, backgrounds and with different levels of experience but with one unifying passion. You may not be able to talk about routes, rides, bike accessories at home or with your other mates but in a cycling group you are able to share recommendations, knowledge, learn new skills etc.

3. There’s Safety in numbers
You may have felt a bit lonely vulnerable and exposed at times when cycling out on your own. Mobile phone coverage can be a bit patchy and being far from home on a lonely road can be risky. Riding with a group will improve your visibility on the road; it will improve your confidence and you will take on rides that you may never have braved on your own. 

4. It will broaden your horizons.
You will discover fantastic roads, lanes and paths and routes often only accessible by bike because individuals will pool their knowledge and explore together.

5. You will go further and see more as a group.
Cycling is known to have health benefits by reducing obesity and improving cardiovascular systems etc. The general health benefits of improved fitness levels also improve your mental well-being. Being part of a group will take you further into the countryside and you will see great landscapes and views. Joining a group or club is just the start of the journey; you will learn new skills and refine existing skills.

6. Cycling clubs are rolling repair shops.
Maybe your repair kit is limited to your mobile phone? In a group there is always someone with the skills and tools to fix almost all roadside breakdowns like punctures, chain, brakes and gear problems. You will learn these skills and in the event of a not fixable breakdown, there will be support to help get you and the bike home again.

7. There is no need to worry about being “dropped”
There is always a concern from riders interested in joining a group that they may get dropped because their current level or pace is below the level of the group. A good group will be happy to offer new members the chance to come along for a few rides before you make a decision whether to join or not.  There will be groups within the group to cater for the varying abilities and pace and there will be a ride grading system in place for this purpose. The ride grades will be based on pace, distance and elevation. These are not an exact science but close enough to suit most riders and there is no pressure to perform. Of course there is the opportunity to be challenged and step up to the level above, give it a try when you feel able, step back if and when you need to.

8. A club doesn’t end once the ride is over.
Maybe you fancy a coffee or something stronger at the end of the ride? For sure there will be someone willing to join you. There may be quiz nights, social evenings, presentation evenings, annual events, charity rides, group tours and holidays. There will be a social media page and one advantage of this will be is that riders who can’t make a club ride can post a notice or request e.g. to ask if anyone would like to join them for a 20 mile ride tomorrow or whenever and usually a few will meet up. There will be many ad hoc rides as well as friendships that have resulted from group membership.

9. Insurance.
Insurance is a boring subject but if you join a club like Cycling UK (a Trading name of the CTC – Cyclist’s Touring Club) you will be covered by what is called Organisers Liability insurance. That covers event organisers, ride leaders and anyone acting on behalf of the group on rides or events if something goes wrong to a participant or member of the public. All cyclists, whether club members or not, are advised to join Cycling UK or British Cycling to get insurance as part of the membership.

10. Now more than ever, there is a club for you.
There are a number of very successful cycling groups and clubs in our area. CTC Swansea may not be the group to suit your needs and wants at this time, if not, we can advise you of other groups that may be more suitable and meet your needs. Being a member of a cycling group or club is not like being in a gang where you may have to pledge allegiance and loyalty! You can and should cycle with any group whenever you feel the need, there is absolutely no need to be loyal to any group, you can cycle when and where you like and with anyone you chose. 

You are very welcome to come and cycle with us. Please call or contact me if you would like more information,

Ian Davies, Secretary. Swansea CTC
Ian.davies49@ntlworld.com  07813856969
Facebook.  CTC Swansea.

Condensed and adapted from the article “Join the Club” in Cycling Plus magazine, issue 386,  December 2021