8 Benefits of joining a Cycling Club
So, you’re an avid cyclist and enjoy riding the roads and trails in your area. You’re curious about riding clubs but aren’t sure they are for you. After all, why should you pay dues to join a group that wears matching jerseys? Well – there may be more to a cycling club than you think. Here are my top eight benefits of joining a cycling club (from a road cyclist and club member in Central Arkansas):
By Dave RobertS
Here are my top eight benefits of joining a cycling club (from a road cyclist and club member in Central Arkansas):
1. Comradery with like-minded enthusiasts is the main reason I decided to join a club. When I improved on my own from beginner to novice, I was ready to go to the next level. After attending some Tour de Rock training rides hosted by various Central Arkansas cycling clubs, I found my home. A good group of club riders will motivate each other to get out and ride more. Some riders gain confidence and improve their endurance simply by riding together more often.
2. Teamwork on long rides is a bonus. I didn’t know much about single or double pace lines years ago. I knew the basics from watching the Tour de France but had not mastered the ins and outs until I joined a club. Many club rides are no-drop group rides with a designated leader. Typically you can find organized rides three times a week March thru October (weather permitting) on Tuesday & Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings.
3. Training for a ride or race can be more effective in a group. Central Arkansas has three major cycling events: Tour de Rock, Wampoo Roadeo (which is a RevRock event), and Big Dam Bridge 100. Most clubs conduct numerous training rides to master the routes and prepare the group for a safe and enjoyable ride.
4. Skill-building clinics are offered by many clubs. My club organizes and subsidizes (using club dues) training classes to have a professional coach work with us to improve our group riding skills. We like to do these clinics prior to a big event like the Big Dam Bridge ride.
5. Network for info and updates on road and weather conditions: Communication through social media (Facebook) and emails is the best way to disseminate information. Sometimes it is about hazardous weather, but more often it’s about trail or road conditions, like after a flood event or when Arkansas Department of Transportation resurfaces a road on a popular route. Sometimes it’s the details on an upcoming ride concerning proposed a route, total miles, pace, etc.
6. Insurance: Some clubs pay for liability and accident insurance through the League of American Bicyclists. This benefit ensures that if a member is struck by a motorist or incurs property damage, they have some recourse since some home and auto and even health insurance may not provide similar coverage.
7. Advocacy to promote a cycling lifestyle in Arkansas. Clubs like to rally around a bicycle-related cause, whether it’s to support expansion of trail networks (like the Southwest Trail votes) or to provide input on safety issues and enforcement.
8. Community Outreach is the right way to pay it forward. Many clubs in Central Arkansas support Recycle Bikes for Kids, the local charity that build bikes and donate them to kids and disadvantaged individuals. Rev Rock buys helmets to go with the second-life bikes. We also volunteer time at Miracle League – baseball for special needs kids in the Spring and Fall.
Cycling clubs may not be for everyone. I have friends who only ride solo, and that works for them; however, it’s hard to argue the benefits listed above. If you are on the lookout for a club, find out what they offer (most have a website) and better yet, join them for a group ride to see if the style is a good fit for you. The old adage “the more the merrier” certainly applies when deciding if you should join a cycling club.