How Do I Pick A Ride?

Are you new to WCBC and in the process of deciding which ride would be a good first one for you? For someone that has never been on a club ride, selecting your first ride from the schedule can be intimidating. We were all at that point when we first started riding with the club, so each of us can empathize with you. Here are a few pointers and explanations that can help you with your selection.

A good strategy is to pick a ride you can complete comfortably. Choose a ride with a combination of pace, terrain, and mileage that is easier than you are used to. This will enable you to meet other riders and acclimate to riding with a new group without the stress of struggling to keep up.

Many bike clubs categorize their rides as A, B, C, and D. While we have a similar range of rides suitable for race training to novice riders, we prefer to let the Ride Descriptions tell the story of what to expect on a particular ride. (Note: a few Ride Descriptions contain letter ratings due to multiple club listings) You may notice references to “Family Friendly” or “Fit & Fun” rides. Family Friendly and Fit & Fun rides are a good place to start for riders with less experience or those wishing to ride at a more relaxed pace over less challenging terrain. While our goal is for each rider to be self sufficient on all club rides, Ride Leaders leading Family Friendly or Fit & Fun rides are prepared to help you by offering more frequent stops, riding tips, and assistance with basic repairs, such as a flat tire, if needed.

Each Ride Description will contain information on the start time, location, pace, terrain, mileage, and a way to contact the Ride Leader. Many will offer information on planned stops. Some will even contain details about special equipment needed (lights for night rides) or suggested gearing. Most of our listings are for road rides. Some of our rides are on trail systems suitable for mountain bikes, while others take place on paved and unpaved multi-use trails. It will be noted in the Ride Description if you will need a mode of transportation other than a road bike. Conversely, Family Friendly Rides can be ridden on road bikes, mountain bikes, kid’s bikes, or tandems. Towing a trail-a-bike or trailer is also suitable on some Family Friendly Rides.

You should arrive at the starting point at least 15 minutes before the start time in order to sign-in and take care of any last minute necessities. We intend the start time to be the actual time we “push off” to begin a ride. The pace of the ride is a rolling average, the same as measured by a typical auto stop cycle computer. Ride Leaders will strive to finish the ride within the advertised pace range. This may mean going slower or faster at certain points in the ride, such as slower into a headwind or faster with a tailwind. Terrain is described as flat, rolling, hilly, very hilly, or some combination as appropriate. Mileage refers to the expected total distance of the ride.

Most Ride Leaders provide cue sheets and/or maps for their rides, although they are not a requirement. Some Ride Leaders share routes electronically and may include GPS mapping. Another category, “Show & Go” rides, are typically weekly rides that follow repetitive routes, are lead by a single or variety of leaders, and seldom include a cue sheet. Show & Go rides are generally a poor choice for first time club rides due to a relative lack of back up with regard to route directions.

If you start conservatively and find the rides less challenging than you’d like, please select rides that are incrementally more demanding. Ride Leaders and experienced club members can offer helpful advise to assist you in your selection process. We’re confident that most riders will enjoy our rides if they choose carefully.

All riders should carry emergency contact information, fluids and food as necessary, a multi-tool for basic adjustments or repairs, and equipment to fix a flat tire. Helmet use is required on all WCBC rides.

WCBC welcomes non-members to try our rides. Over the years we have had the privilege of sharing riding experiences with members of other bike clubs, exchange students, professionals in the area on temporary assignment, and a variety of other visitors. If you enjoy riding with us, we welcome you for the duration of your temporary stay. Non-members living in our service area should limit themselves to three trial rides in order to assess interest in WCBC. Membership is inexpensive, gives you unlimited access to club rides, grants you voting privileges, provides you with secondary insurance, furnishes you with a Tailwind subscription, our club newsletter, and more.

We want to encourage cyclists to ride with WCBC. If you have any questions, please contact us. We hope to see you on your bike.