After the first few months of excitement at hitting the road or track on two wheels you may begin to ask yourself, what’s next? The answer may very well be, why not join a local club. Like many sports, cycling is best enjoyed as part of a group. Not only do your companions provide much needed advice or encouragement when the going gets tough, but race days or group days out can offer an extra dimension that cycling on your own will not provide.
So where to look for a good club? Well, the first stop may be your local phone directory, where you will find them listed under sports clubs and associations. Alternatively the internet is often a good source of information, either by using a search engine or visiting the site of one of the big national organisations such as British Cycling or the Cyclists’ Touring Club. Membership of the CTC offers access to information on events held nationwide as well as both contact information and web addresses for district associations.
Local Clubs and Activities
Two other good routes to your local club can come through either word of mouth or the local specialist shop where you bought your bike. The first route can be very valuable, either via a friend, neighbour or work colleague because not only is personal recommendation always a useful measure of how good an organisation is but also you will already know a member, so you won’t face the daunting task of arriving for the first meeting or practice session a rather self-conscious total stranger. It is likely that the local shop will hold information on local clubs and activities. Not only is it useful for the shop because it promotes the sport and, therefore, sales, but the club has a very useful focal point for reaching as many local cyclists as possible.
You may be joining the club simply for the companionship and shared interest but in time the temptation to step up to the starting line for either off-road or road racing events may prove too much. Again, the help and advice of your fellow members will be invaluable in preparing you for what can be a nerve-racking first time on the competitive circuit. It may prove to be a steep learning curve, especially if you are racing under team orders where the interests of your compatriots must sometimes come above those of yourself. But it is another aspect of the sport and one you probably never imagined yourself getting into when you first contemplated investing in two wheels.
Of course, competitive cycling is not everyone’s cup of tea, and if you try it and don’t enjoy it, simply get involved in the club activities that suit you and your goals.
Cycling clubs exist to promote the enjoyment of the sport, and while you may come across the odd individual who takes it all too seriously, the majority are welcoming, friendly and there to help. As such, joining a club can only enhance your enjoyment of the sport.