The main thing that holds new cyclists back from joining a cycling club is not ability but confidence and three questions typically dominate the thought process of any prospective member. Am I fast enough? Can I last the distance? Will I get dropped?
Most likely, the answers will be yes, yes, no. Of course, there’s a basic level of fitness involved but you won’t know for sure unless, first, you ask, and second, you take the plunge and give it a go. Most clubs will have more than one group head out on the club run, with each riding at an advertised speed and set distance according to ability. If you’re unsure, start with the easiest group and you can always move up a level next week.
As for distance, riding in a group is approximately 25 per cent more efficient than riding solo. Again, choose a club and group which matches your ability. If you can ride 30 miles solo, then, chance are, you’ll be just fine on a 40-mile club run.
Even if you find the distance and speed hard to begin with then stick with it as riding in a cycling club will fast-track your fitness and most clubs operate a policy that a group rides at the speed of its slowest member and no-one gets dropped – remember, it’s a club run, not a race.