This year in an attempt to take my biking to the next level, I joined the Beaches Cycling Club.I thought it would be a great way to improve my biking skills, learn to ride in a large group and to meet other people interested in road biking. The Beaches Cycling Club has been around for about five years and started out with 5 members. Today it is quite large with membership well over a 100 riders and has an organized ride of some sort almost every day of the week. My vet I take my dogs to, James Young, is a member and has been trying to get me to join for the last couple of years. The deal maker for me was taking Spin classes at the gym this year. One of my spin instructors, Dan Y, is the founder of BCC and when he heard I knew James, I found myself out of excuses of why I couldn't join. So I joined.
(picture courtesy of DY BCC)
For those of you who may be interested in joining, you can check them out here.Since I'm new to the whole bike club and group riding thing, I thought it would be best if I started with the Saturday ride which is a more casual ride.
The ride consists of three distances, 45kms, 53 kms and 70+ for the more ambitious. On Saturdays they also offer training sessions on group riding, pace lines and general safety tips for those new to the whole group ride thing. Naturally I choose the ride with the training session.
Everyone meets up at the designated start point and then the riders set out in different groups based on distance.
What a great experience it was for my first club ride. It started off with a quick training session on bike control and pace riding in the community centre parking lot and then it was off on my first group ride of the season. We all rode together for the first 20kms working on our bike skills in traffic and then the group broke up into 2 groups, the faster more experienced guys and the newbies.
Up until the 27km mark I did OK keeping pace with the lead group and then we got to the long hill at the zoo and I was quickly dropped on the climb. At the top of the hill we waited for the second group to catch up and then we turned for home. I stayed with the break away group long enough to get separated from the rest of the pack, but at the 37 km mark as we came to the Morningside hill I was dropped from the main group for good. At this point we had gotten so far ahead of the main group that we missed the turn at Military Trail, and ended up going to Kingston road instead. I was on my own from that point on.
53 kms from start to finish. Not too bad for my first club ride.
(picture courtesy of DY BCC)Some things I learnt. Riding in a big group is pretty cool, but it was way harder then I thought it would be. The style of riding required for this will take some getting used to. I'm not as fit as I thought I was. It was humbling, being dropped on the climbs, but also rewarding to make it to the top without blowing up.
But the best part is you can always do better on the next ride.
(picture courtesy of DY BCC)To see the stats for my first ride, click here.