Thinking about joining a cycling club (hopefully this one), but still a bit unsure about taking the plunge?
Well, here’s your inside guide to what goes on, how things work, the benefits of joining Welland Valley Cycling Club and a whole host of other stuff.
Alternatively, you can find out more about the club on our ‘About us’ page.
So what’s the club actually like?
Welland Valley prides itself on being friendly and welcoming, with no cliques.
It’s a club for cyclists of all abilities and any/no ambitions– from slow and steady beginners through to high speed racing snakes.
The club is also incredibly diverse in terms of activities on offer, which include: cyclo-cross, road and circuit racing, time trialling, sportives, social club runs, track sessions, training rides and skills sessions.
If you like cycling, there’s something for you.
Oh, and to ensure you find your way around, we have a New Members’ Liaison Officer to hold your hand (not literally): Claire Moore, email@example.com
What sort of bike do I need?
The short answer is ……… anything roadworthy.
With more than 150 members, we have adults and juniors riding everything from vintage steel road bikes through to the very latest carbon-fibre rocketships.
Not to mention mountain bikes, cyclo-cross steeds, track and time trial machines and pretty much anything else you can think of.
But it’s not about the bike at Welland Valley, it’s about the fun you can have on two wheels.
Will I have to turn out in lycra?
Only if you want to. It’s true most cyclists wear lycra and tight fitting tops (always a good look on the middle aged man!), because it generally does the job of keeping you comfortable and aerodynamic. But shorts and t-shirt are just fine. The one piece of kit that is compulsory is a helmet.
Will I be fast enough?
Almost certainly. And you’ll get fitter and faster once you start joining in some of the rides and activities.
A good way to start is to come along to one of our ‘steady’ club runs, which normally cover around 25-30 miles on a Sunday morning at a steady pace – finishing up with tea and cake at a local café. The group always stays together and no-one ever gets left behind (by the way, you don’t have to be a member to join in these rides, so they’re a good way of seeing if you like the look of us).
If you wanted to ride a club time trial (an event where you ride a set distance against the clock), then you are testing yourself, so there is no minimum speed.
Will I be too fast?
Well, there’s only one way to find out. But be warned, we have some extremely quick men and women who compete at local, regional, national and international level. We’ve even got a nine-time world champion among our members.
How will I cope riding in a group?
Once you get the hang of it, you’ll enjoy group riding. And if you’re new to it, we’ll ensure you go out with an experienced rider the first few times. At first it might seem very daunting, but if you’d never ridden in a group, we’d start by placing you at the back of the group where you’d not have to worry about people around you. From there we could teach you the basics and soon get you riding within the group as your confidence increased.
Are there any female members?
Yes – and increasing in number. In fact, women are probably the fastest growing section of the club’s membership. And in the past year we have instigated a monthly women-only club run. Visit our Ladies page to find out more.
Is there a social side to the club?
There certainly is. In addition to our regular Sunday club runs, we also hold mid-week pub runs during the summer. We also have an annual dinner dance and prize-giving evening.
Can I ride my mountain bike on the road?
Yes, no problem, though they’re usually heavier than a road bike, so they’re harder work uphill. You will find the ride improved by putting slick tyres on your mountain bike however. Another area that would benefit you is to buy some pedals that you clip in to. We can offer advice here if need be.
I’m pretty interested, but want to get some advice on kit. Could you guys help?
Yes, simply ask. Most of us have experience with various bikes and equipment and would be only too happy to advise you what to buy, and what to avoid. We’ve made the mistakes, so there’s no need for you to copy our errors! View our contacts page if you would like to get in touch.
I don’t like riding near cars or on busy roads
Neither do we. Generally, all our rides are on quiet back roads and lanes, away from cars as much as possible. We get out to these lanes as soon as we can. Some of the time trials are on main roads, but the junctions are marshaled to increase visibility and driver awareness. Of course, we also have mountain bikers, and their rides are almost exclusively away from traffic.
Do I need to be in the club to come on a club run or do a time trial?
Not at first, we’d want you to be sure that you wanted to join. You’d be more than welcome as a guest on the club runs until you had decided. For the club time trials, there is a necessity for insurance as legally we are racing on the roads. Therefore it would normally be expected that you are a club member (meaning that you are being covered under the club insurance), or otherwise need to pay a levy for insurance on the day.
Is everyone else fast? What if I can’t keep up?
Try riding as far as you can on a flat road at 15 mph. If you can ride about 30 miles in 2 – 2.5 hours in varied terrain then you’re probably fit enough. That is about the speed that our steady group does, and it is always easier when you are in a group. If you start to struggle, don’t worry, we’ve all been there, and someone will ride with you to ensure you are ok. We won’t leave you behind in the middle of nowhere.
I’m not good enough to come out with you yet
If you believe that you’re not fit enough yet to come out with us, then hopefully the Welland Valley Cycling Club can still offer you something. As we’ve said, we all started somewhere. Don’t forget the weekly time trials throughout the summer too, where you simply ride as quickly as you can against the clock over a predetermined distance.
Do I have to race?
Not at all. You do as much or as little as you like. You may find that racing is infectious, especially time trials which are done entirely at your own speed. In a time trial you are racing against your previous personal best times, always trying to better them.
You haven’t mentioned off-roading for a while
Yes, sorry, not forgotten you! There are quite a few riders in our club who ride off-road. However, generally speaking we are a road based club – with an increasing number of riders who enjoy the joys of cyclo-cross! We have members who ride off road and arrange occasional off road trips. If you are solely a mountain biker, then you might be interested in the CATS Mountain Bike club in Market Harborough, as they are exclusively ran for the benefit of mountain bikers. CATS are not linked to our club, so you will need to contact them directly. They have a website or you can contact Neil at George Halls Cycles, Northampton Road, Market Harborough.
Are there any other benefits?
As a Welland Valley member you’ll benefit from discounted rates at Market Harborough bike shop, George Halls Cycle Centre.
How much does it cost to join the club?
Membership ranges from free-of-charge for under 12s up to £22.50 for a family.
Joining the club gives you access to all Welland Valley CC events – from club rides and cyclo-cross meets through to time trials and road races.
And best of all, as a member you can buy and wear our fabulous new Welland Valley club kit.
Membership costs for 2018:
- Adult: £15
- Adult aged 65+: £5
- Second claim member: £7.50 (for when WVCC is not your primary cycling club)
- Junior (aged 17-18, or full-time student up to age 21): £5
- Youth (aged 12-16): £2.50
- Go Ride (aged under 12): Free
- Family (adults and children under 18, or under 21 in full time education, living at same address): £22.50
If I wanted to join, what should I do next?
Visit our page for new members for further details and to access our membership form.
Alternatively, your first port of call are the following people:
- Ages 16 and up: New Members secretary, Claire Moore, on firstname.lastname@example.org
- Aged under 16: Whizz Kids coach, Kevin Nicholls, on email@example.com
You haven’t answered all of my questions!