CTC - Cycling Tourists Club    CTT - Cycling Time Trials

cycling club

Club Contacts

General enquiries:
Club Secretary
John Birch

Interested in Joining?

Mick Donnelly - Hilly 23

Joining a cycling club-FAQs

Can anyone join?

    Most cycling clubs have a wide range of members. Some are experienced and some are novices. Some are serious and successful athletes and others have more modest abilities. Most clubs also have a wide age range, from youngsters to pensioners. In many clubs there will be a place for them all; clubs which only have young, fit sportspeople dedicated to competing are racing teams, not clubs in the traditional sense.

How should I start?

    If you’ve been riding a bike and are looking to go further and faster, and to try different cycling activities with other cyclists, then a club should give you the opportunity to take your cycling forward. Club runs are not races and, if you can ride steadily for a couple of hours then you will be able to keep up, learn to ride in a group and get to know other club members.
    In contrast training bashes, or ‘chain gangs’ don’t wait for the slowest riders, but they usually follow a set route so, if you get dropped, you’ll know where you are.
    Club time trials are a good way to get fitter and to improve your technique. Improving your times over the course of a season is a satisfying way of knowing that you are making progress. You’ll find that other club members will encourage you as you get faster; they all remember when they started racing.
    When you have improved your fitness and technique, you may decide to enter races not organised by your club. Club members will be happy to advise you on open time trials and road races for beginners, to ensure that you start with something appropriate that will help you to continue to develop.

How old do I need to be to join a club?

    Youngsters can get a great deal out of being a member of a cycling club. There are plenty of activities for children who are too young to ride on the road (see What’s On) but parents have to take them to the track, circuit or cyclocross event. Riders of 14 or 15 may be experienced enough, and fit enough, to join a club run, and club members will welcome them and help them enjoy the experience, but the club cannot take responsibility for their safety.

Am I too old to race?

    In the last few years the largest group of cyclists joining cycling clubs has been veterans (over 40s) who cycled when they were teenagers or who have started with a mountain bike and want to move over onto the road. Many of them are keen to regain their fitness and, now that their families are older, finally have some time to do something about it. ‘Born again’ cyclists usually pick up where they left off, quickly discover that cyclists and cycling clubs haven’t changed that much and fit in very easily, whereas new cyclists are often a little nervous and wonder where to start.

    If you want to become a cyclist first of all you need a bike! Unless you’ve already got a road bike don’t just go out and buy one, take advice from experienced club members. They will save you money by knowing where to buy from, but will also make sure that you don’t buy something inappropriate or unnecessarily expensive. Once you’ve got a bike, ask a club member to help you to set it up so that it is comfortable for you to ride.

    Your first goal should be to keep up with a club run, to ride steadily for at least a couple of hours. That might mean going out by yourself at first, but can also involve riding out to club events to watch, or meeting a run at a café. Starting with a run and dropping off when you’ve had enough will allow you to gradually extend your range. Ideally you will spend your first winter riding with the club, in a group that you can comfortably keep up with. When the spring comes there will be the opportunity to ride time trials. You may not have considered racing, or you might want to ride road races, either way a season of time trials will make you fitter, and will ensure that you are safe when you are riding at speed. Take any opportunity to ride ‘two’ or ‘three ups’, they will help you to learn how to race in a group.

    Club time trials are open to any club member, everyone is essentially racing against themselves, trying to improve their times; no one will look down on you if you are slower than them, and you will be surprised how mature some racers are; if you are merely middle-aged you will realise that you have decades of racing ahead of you. Once you have completed a year of club runs and time trials you will be ready to take up any branch of cycling (road racing, track, cyclo-cross, audax, touring etc.) that might interest you.