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Want to join racing but dont know where to start?

abdul12abdul12 Posts: 16
edited October 2014 in Amateur race
I really don't know where to start.

I mean get a british racing license? Join a team? Get a good bike?

At the moment I just ride solo, but don't know anything about group rides. So how will i join local racing team?

Posts

  • Contact the local cycling clubs, try their rides, check them out on the internet and see if they have many members who race, join the one you like best, get fit and get used to riding with others, ask your clubmates how to get into racing.
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  • ju5t1nju5t1n Posts: 2,028
    British Cycling is a good place to start. And the website is almost functional these days :)

    http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/road/a ... d-racing-0
  • Joining a club is the best way to start.

    You need to be relatively fit, comfortable riding in close proximity to other riders, have OK bike handling and reasonably solid (not neccessarily expensive) equipment to race.

    Riding with a club and speaking to the experienced members will help you with all of those, as well as letting you gauge your fitness.

    You can find a local club here: http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/clubfinder
  • I definitely recommend joining a local club if you're interested in racing. It's by far the easiest way to get experience riding in a small group and get comfortable riding in close quarters with others, things that you really shouldn't be learning while you're racing in a bunch of 60 on your limit.

    Wish you luck though, racing is great fun.
  • Useful information so thanks. I've been commuting to work for about 3 years (9 miles each way) and want to start doing some longer weekend rides building up to races. I 'd like to join a club but am struggling to find one I'm comfortable with, they all seem very serious. Any advice, recommendations for someone living in south-west London?
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    Useful information so thanks. I've been commuting to work for about 3 years (9 miles each way) and want to start doing some longer weekend rides building up to races. I 'd like to join a club but am struggling to find one I'm comfortable with, they all seem very serious. Any advice, recommendations for someone living in south-west London?

    If you are building up to races, then surely that is in line with joining a 'serious' club? So if you are serious about racing, look for a club which is also serious about racing.
  • If you don't know anything at all about racing and currently only ride solo, definitely join one of your local cycling clubs. As a beginner pretty much any club will do, and would probably be best to look for an 'old fashioned/ traditional' club which has the weekend club run, takes part in time trials and perhaps has a small interest in road racing. Joining a club that is totally focused on racing probably isn't a great idea- most I've seen tend to cater for seasoned racers, and may lack some of the more 'fun' aspects of a cycling club.

    Almost the worst thing you can do is just turn up to any 4th cat road race, enter on a day license (which anyone can do no questions asked) and try to ride in the bunch with no experience of group riding. It would be incredibly dangerous for both yourself and those around you- unfortunately there is a high accident rate among first time racers. I didn't have much group riding experience when I did my first race :roll: (not even a time trial to my name) but luckily there were only 15 riders on the now infamous Mountbatten circuit so it was comparatively safe, and yes I did attack far too early and yes I did come dead last by a fair margin 8) Racing has become much more popular since though, and all the races I've been to since have had many, many more riders out at a time which reduces space and increases risk unfortunately.

    I would ease into it gently- just join your local club for the club rides and get used to riding in a group, and eventually build up to riding in the 'fast' group and hopefully join in with any training rides the members might do. The season has pretty much ended now so you'll have all winter to practice.
    Joining a local club is dead easy- make a search online, read what they are about and see if they appeal to you (look for ones welcoming to newcomers) and find out when and where they meet for club runs and just go along! Most clubs let you ride as a guest 3 times before asking to join, but it's not normally that expensive.

    Definitely have a go at time trials when they start up again- they are probably the safest form of racing as you compete against the clock individually (no risk of crashing into someone else- just like any other ride really) and once all the times are in they are compared. But you can do it on any bike and just try to improve your own times at first rather than worry about anyone else.

    As far as kit is concerned you don't need anything special- any entry level road bike with an rrp of around £500+ such as Spesh Allez, Cannondale Caad 8, Trek 1 series, will do. Clothing can be kept simple, just a reasonable pair of shorts and a nice fitting jersey that doesn't flap too much is fine- oh, and clip-less shoes are a must! A nice pair of tyres such as Conti GP 4000s or Schwalbe Ultremos are a good investment come race day as they will probably roll better and make acceleration easier than the stock tyres, but stay stock for winter to save unnecessary wear.
    Other than that for your first forays into racing you need no extra equipment- you'll see people asking about what gains they can get from x and y kit, but at the end of the day it'll be your fitness and ability that will determine if you can stay in the bunch.
    I still only have a humble Trek 1.1 to race on, and I've still managed to win points, and one of my best results was done when it was also running stock wheels with lighter tyres.

    Don't worry about race licensees etc for the time being (although standard BC membership is good for 3rd party insurance and may be required as part of a club membership for insurance reasons) as you'll learn everything else over time as you ride with others.

    Most importantly- have fun! Bunch racing can be great fun when you get the hang of it.

    EDIT: For South West London you have the Kingston Wheelers who seem to be a good bunch, one of the 'proper' clubs. London Dynamo is probably one to avoid though, being one of those overly serious clubs that don't seem too friendly with anyone.
    I think Twickenham CC is also a reasonable club although slightly more focussed on racing than Kingston. If you are close enough to Guildford then Charlotteville is a proper old school club that I was a member of- not such a big road racing scene but enough competent members to see you through.

    SW London seems to have few clubs as compared with cyclists so any will probably seem fairly daunting at first. Also the Surrey Racing League is very popular so you would definitely be seeing large turnouts for races and is unfortunately billed as the hardest league in the country- probably due to the sheer numbers of racers nearby so even the 4th cats (of which I am one :oops: ) are pretty hard.
  • marykamaryka Posts: 745
    edited October 2014
    I think that impression of the clubs in SW London is not necessarily correct any more... then again, one person's unfriendly is another's serious, one person's good bunch is another's aimless mass, but no matter, what's important is finding a club that fits with your thinking and what you want to do as a cyclist. To that end, try a few out before you commit to membership. Pretty much every club in the country will let you join them for a club run on the weekend where you can chat to people and get a feel for it before you join. So make your way around the SW London clubs and see what you think.

    Edit: please note that cycling clubs are not like gym memberships, where you sign up and immediately ask what they can do for you. Whatever club you join, please be prepared to put back into the club/sport to the same degree that you take out of it. So if you end up racing, be ready to volunteer to marshal a race. If you go on club runs, volunteer to lead some. Or just volunteer to help where the club needs it. This sport runs on volunteers and a lot of big clubs have loads of money in the bank but nobody to help out. Don't be that person who pays membership dues and assumes that's the end of his/her obligation to the club and sport.
  • I'd echo the sentiments about riding with the local club to start with. Via this route you will be able to find when/where the local chaingangs or race training sessions take place. Gaining experience of riding in a fast-moving group is essential both from a safety viewpoint and from to experience what it's like to have to bury yourself repeatedly simply to hold the wheel in front. The local chaingang, even at Cat 4 level, is not for the faint-hearted though!

    Racing is good fun, though. There's no bluffing. You're either competitive or you're not. You certainly find out what attributes/weaknesses you have as a cyclist. It also creates a certain "out of body experience". I sometimes woke up at night after races, in a cold sweat about just how dangerous some incidents actually were, despite not bothering about them at the time. The "red mists" of competition had somehow turned me from my normally cautious, risk averse self into thinking I was an immortal teenager again! In addition, you hit speeds and heart rates that you just didn't think were possible, which is good information to bore dinner party guests with!
  • Tom DeanTom Dean Posts: 1,723
    maryka wrote:
    Edit: please note that cycling clubs are not like gym memberships, where you sign up and immediately ask what they can do for you. Whatever club you join, please be prepared to put back into the club/sport to the same degree that you take out of it. So if you end up racing, be ready to volunteer to marshal a race. If you go on club runs, volunteer to lead some. Or just volunteer to help where the club needs it. This sport runs on volunteers and a lot of big clubs have loads of money in the bank but nobody to help out. Don't be that person who pays membership dues and assumes that's the end of his/her obligation to the club and sport.
    This
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