Flutterby™! : making a bike club work

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making a bike club work

2006-07-17 17:16:55.58759+00 by Dan Lyke 10 comments

Apparently I'm turning up fairly high in searches for bike club info, because people are starting to email me asking me about such things. Here's a response I wrote to one query: Making a bike club work

[ related topics: Community Bicycling ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-17 21:32:18.496653+00 by: meuon

Excellent discourse..

So this morning 3 recumbent riders met for a 40 mile ride, and the discussion became forming a 'club'. My input was being a 'sprocket' (a small part of) of the local Chatt. Bike Club who has been excellent in letting me ride with them, has not pushed membership on me, and has their schedule up for everyone to join in with them with.. and because of those reasons I'll be happy to pay the $25 to become a member at the next opportunity to do so.

I've been impressed with the CBC on the few rides I've been on: Well chosen moderate rides were available (as well as hard core ones), with well posted times and locations, with 'Qeue' sheets available - but also a no-one left behind attitude on the easier beginner rides.

What makes it all worth riding with others is a tone and personality that allows a guy on a clunker 3 speed to feel at home next to the guy riding a titanium and carbon fiber bike and everyone having a good time. Do 15 miles: Suprise, the guy on the 3 speed is in serious shape.. he WANTED to use a 3 speed for this ride.

---The club has to offer a tangible social and training advantage to riding alone.. because unlike Caving and many other activities, you CAN do it alone and be safe and have a good time.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-17 21:33:43.499541+00 by: meuon

ps: 29 miles Sunday morning, 40+ Monday morning.. What will tomorrow bring? I used to think a Century (100 miles) was laughable for me, now I wonder if I can do one this September..

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-17 22:17:13.9146+00 by: Dan Lyke

Charlene's brother's family came down and stayed with us this weekend before seeing one of their sons and his wife off to Germany for three years, and on Saturday Rob, his wife Lisa, their sons Ryan and Jamin, and Jamin's wife Johanna rode out about 16 miles to Point Reyes Station, where half the contingent loaded up the bikes on a car driven by Charlene and headed over the coastal range to Limantour Beach. Rob, Jamin and I then rode over to the beach, and later that evening rode back.

The climb over the range was hard, I've always wanted to break the 25MPH speed limit but never felt comfortable doing it in a car, however heading down to the beach we hit 46 while riding the brakes, and could have gone faster had the road not been as curvy. So back up hurt. A lot. Then we set up a face paceline (which I'm still working on, I'm way to conscious of what's behind me when I'm leading and accordion the line in really bad ways, but Rob and Jamin are very disciplined and it's easy to read when they're pulling out to drop the lead), and by the time I got to Nicasio, about 8 miles from home, I was pretty darned shot.

Especially having spent a day in the sun and wind on the beach.

So 56 miles, but really tough miles.

And I haven't really ridden much since the climb up to Shaver Lake with Rob a few weeks ago.

I don't know where you're at, or how long that 40+ took you, but I think the key on a century is pacing. Find one where you can come off the course later (ie: they're running it with a double century or something else that'll keep the support going longer), look at the elevation profile and make a plan that's at the low end of what you ride. Say you figure you'll finish the course in 10 hours. That's 20 minutes for lunch, six minutes per rest stop, and 11 MPH average when you're on the bike. Allow a little more time for the climbing sections and plan on making it up on the descents and flats. If you get to rest stops faster than that plan ride slower to the next one. Don't kill too much time at the stop, 'cause that'll just stiffen you up, but if you don't push hard at first you'll have something left at the end of the day.

I don't know what 11MPH burns on the 'bent, but even on an upright that's within the "how many calories can I replace from my digestive system" range if you're careful about how you get 'em (and that you won't be going flat out means that if you need it, you can absorb more than the 250 calories/hr that's about the best you can do when you're going flat out), so it's just a matter of keeping going. And if, come mile 75, you've got something left, go harder then.

Yeah, your first one will hurt, but...

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-17 23:23:43.198216+00 by: warkitty

Anyone can ride a century, given enough time-D

Seriously meoun, if you mean the Sequatchie Century, go for it. I warn you though, the mountain is a beast, followed by rollers along the top. MOST of the ride though, is flat. Keep training and you'll be able to do it in time.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-18 02:14:48.467521+00 by: meuon

Warkitty: Yes, Bob (one of the 'bent riders) was asking me to do the Sequatchie "Metric" with him.. which would be relatively easy, and the Century would be possibly do-able except for the climb up the Sequatchie County side of Signal Mtn. But.. at 5mph... maybe.

But regarding clubs: Whether it's Chugalug, EWI or your local bike club. I think it's a personality gamble, and the right personalities starting such a thing properly will get inertia going the right way, even after they are no longer in charge.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-18 11:33:08.652601+00 by: DaveP

On my 'bent, 12mph is the "ride as long as I have water and snacks" pace when I'm in shape (i.e. I'm just burning sugars that are replaceable). Of course that's on a 35 lb 'bent trike with a 300 lb "motor", so YMMV. But 15mph is "ride to work" pace, and 18mph is "hurry home" pace. Both eat into reserves in such a way that I can't keep 'em up forever, and at 18mph, it would be tough keeping hydrated were I to do it for much more than an hour.

I think 10 hours for a century, as Dan laid it out, is a pretty good goal for a first one, but find what paces work for you, and maybe spend some extra time working the hills. Here in MN, I've got the Mississippi valley running right through town, and by riding the valley, then climbing out to every bridge that crosses it and switching sides, I can do a 15 mile ride that's about 75% hill. And if I run out of gas, I just get out of the valley and onto the flat city streets to get home. Almost ideal for training.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-18 16:18:44.963412+00 by: Dan Lyke

Given what you've said so far, unless you've got joint or nerve problems the metric is definitely in the "doable" class. When I did the Wine Country Century I was grinding south from the lunch stop, probably around mile 75, and passed a woman who must have been 250 lbs on an upright with big tires. It took me a double-take or two to figure out that the metric course and the hundred miler coincided along this stretch, 'cause I'd only left an hour after the hundred mile course opened and if I was only catching her at mile 75 or so I'd have been completely floored, but even so I was impressed.

My "11 mph between rest stops" was meant to be altered for climbs, so that, yes, you'd be looking at kicking it on some of the downhills and flats to make up for five on the climbs, hopefully they publish a good elevation profile (or you can guess at one) so that you can plan ahead.

Also, I don't remember if you need to be doin' things like monitoring glucose levels, but if you do you might want to carry a test kit with you and play with "I'm holding 15 mph and drinking 2% Hammer gel solution at a rate of 16 oz per hour, and my glucose levels are..."

In fact I've been thinking about doing that for me.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-19 00:36:46.703642+00 by: meuon

I've noticed in caving and other things, the one advantage to having a little spare tire around the middle (although mines getting smaller again) is that I have some reserves to draw upon.

As for joint issues, I'm noticing I tweaked my right ankle some doing that 40+ miles, but I'm also using the wrong pedals and clips for what I'm doing (but it's what was available locally). I need some "float". A lot of the bent riders swear by: BeBoP pedals, Others by the "Frog". I'm leaning towards the BeBop's, but would like to see some first.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-19 02:16:09.351029+00 by: Dan Lyke

Oooh. Shiny.

I think we may have to get some of those for Charlene, 'cause I think more float than the SPDs give her would be good.

One of the things that'd push me towards the Frogs is the cleat design. Having hung out with rode bikers a bit now, I realize that my mountain bike shoes don't look as aerodynamic as road shoes, but I don't have to put fancy covers on 'em and walk around like I'm some sort of ballerina when I'm off the bike. So recessed cleats is a convenience I'd look for, and it looks to me like the Frog cleats would take a little more walking abuse.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-07-23 05:58:24.489696+00 by: warkitty

Check out the SH-RT50 road touring Shimano SPD shoes.

Similar to what I've got. I can walk in mine just fine.