What kind of bikes do you ride?
Generally we ride road bikes as most of our riding is done on tarmac. Our bikes are often quite light, with narrow tyres that help us maintain a good pace. Inevitably we have members who enjoy riding quite expensive bikes, but many others of us have quite ordinary frames with mid-range components.
Is everyone else fast? What if I can’t keep up?
Not everyone is fast, and we’re not the kind of club where everyone tries to impress each other with speed. But you do need a certain amount of fitness and speed. Our average clubrun speeds vary from around 15mph to 18mph depending upon who is out, the weather and the terrain. Remember, though, it is ALWAYS easier when you are riding in a group, and you may be surprised how easy the miles pass when you are chatting away. If you start to struggle, don’t worry, we’ve all been there, and someone will ride with you to ensure you are ok. We won’t leave you behind in the middle of nowhere.
I am a triathlete, will joining a cycling club help?
Definitely! Whilst the Lakes Road Club does not organise triathlon events, some of our members are triathletes who have joined us to improve their cycling skills, especially those from a running or swimming background. There are many aspects of cycling technique which can be improved with practice, or learnt from experienced riders. For instance, riding position, pedalling style, cornering and hill-climbing techniques and best use of gearing are all “finer points” which can be addressed.
Do I have to race?
No! Although the Lakes Road Club has a fine racing heritage, we are not purely a racing club. Many of our members have never raced, whilst others have a racing background but are now content to take things at a slower pace. What you will find in the Lakes is a huge depth of cycling experience going back over many years. However, the club does promote races, which rely heavily on volunteers, and members are expected to assist in whatever way they can, either by marshalling or by helping out at the HQ. Some members even eventually volunteer to take over the organising of events!
How much off-road cycling do you do?
There are quite a number of riders in our club who ride off-road and occasionally off-road runs are arranged. However, generally speaking we are a road-based club.
How much does it cost to join the Lakes Road Club?
Membership of the club isn’t expensive: £10 per year for over-18s, £6 for 16-18s, £3 for under 16’s, and £14 for families living at one address. Membership is normally renewable at the start of each year.
How do you keep in touch with members?
The website provides up to date information on what’s happening, and a Facebook page, and we also have a email list which is used for intermediate contact, “latest news”, and gossip!
Do I need insurance?
Club Rides – Club runs are peer group rides the Lakes Road Club does not provide Third Party Insurance. We would suggest that you all riders have their own Third Party liability Insurance. This can be obtained through British Cycling, CTC or alternatively please check your own existing policies such as household or motor to see if you are covered.
Racing – To compete in Road and Track racing events you must have a licence and therefore be a member of British Cycling, which carries their own third party insurance cover. To compete in League of veteran racing Cyclists events you must be a member of the LVRC, which again carries their own insurance.
Time Trials – To compete in Club and Open events you must be a member of a club affiliated to Cycling Time Trials.(CTT). The Lakes Road Club is affiliated to CTT. This means that as a club member you will be covered by the CTT Insurance.
You haven’t answered all my questions!
Please do ask us any other questions you may have via our Contact Us page.
But why ride so close together?
Riding ‘on someone’s wheel’ as it’s called gives you the benefit of slipstream. Riding close enough to the person in front of you can save you as much as 15-40% of your energy, depending on the speed and size of the group, which enables us all to maintain a higher average than we could on our own.
The following links give some more information about riding in a group:
Do you ride close together in a group on club runs?
Yes, we do tend to ride in fairly close formation and this does take a bit of getting used to if you’re new to cycling. However, there’s no need to be daunted. If you’re a bit uncertain then it’s best to start at the back of the group where you don’t have to worry about people around you. From there you can soon learn some basic things about group riding and your confidence will increase.
Do I need to be in the club to come on a club run?
Not at first, we’d want you to be sure that you wanted to join. You’ll be more than welcome as a ‘visitor’ for your first couple of club runs. The most important thing is that your bike is roadworthy and that you are able to keep up with the run. Following your trial club runs, if you wish to continue riding with us, we hope that you will download an application form and become a member. You are more than welcome to come along on our Starter Rides and see what you think.
I only have a mountain bike, will that do?
The problem with mountain bikes is that they tend to be heavier than road bikes and, with knobbly tyres, can make riding on tarmac seem like hard work! This doesn’t matter except if you are trying to keep up with the faster riders on a club run. Some of our members can keep up on a mountain bike but usually they ride road bikes. If you do want to use your mountain bike, you will find the ride improved by fitting slick tyres, but you may still have to improve your fitness as well.
Of course, some of our members are regular mountain bikers as well as road bikers, so please contact us via email and we can put you in touch with them.
My bike is only cheap, does that matter?
We’re not the kind of club who’s members boast about their expensive bikes! Some of us enjoy knowing all about the latest components but you definitely don’t need a posh bike to join us. More expensive bikes benefit from being lighter, which means they are easier to ride uphill, but ultimately it doesn’t matter how expensive a bike is, as long as it’s well maintained.
Do you all do your own bike maintenance?
A well maintained bike will run smoother, have fewer mechanical problems, and will be more fun to ride. Some of us build our own bikes from scratch, others of us need help from professionals. Generally we can sort out most ‘running problems’ for ourselves and we can give you advice if need be.
Do I have to wear lycra?
Not at all! Lycra can be a bit ‘revealing’, but we dress like that for reasons of comfort. The shorts have a synthetic pad which helps keep your bum comfortable. The materials used in all the clothing tend to breathe well, reducing discomfort from sweating, and they don’t flap around in the wind. Some people are more comfortable riding in running bottoms, but these may not be comfortable on a long ride. Basic rules for a beginner are ride in whatever you’re comfortable, and remember to keep warm, especially in the winter months. It is better to be too warm than too cold.
I really just want some advice on buying a bike. Can you help?
Yes, simply ask. Most of us have experiences of various bikes and equipment and will be only too happy to advise you what to buy, and what to avoid. We’ve made the mistakes, no need for you to copy our errors! Remember however that we’re predominantly a road-based club, so our knowledge of all-terrain or ‘leisure’ bikes may be limited.
How old do you have to be to join in the club’s activities?
There is no minimum age for membership. Young people can join in the club’s activities as soon as they are ready to, and (where relevant) as soon as the rules of the event allow. To take part in club runs, youngsters under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult parent or guardian and those between the ages of 13 and 18 must have parental permission.
What if I don’t like riding near cars or on busy roads.
Neither do we. Generally, we ride are on quiet minor roads and lanes, away from cars as much as possible. We get out to these lanes as soon as we can. Of course, if you are on a mountain bike outing, a lot of the ride will be away from traffic.
How fit do I need to be to be able to come riding with you?
You’ll need a reasonable level of fitness to be able to do a ‘club run’ (club run being a social Sunday ride, usually with a café stop). By reasonable level of fitness, we’d suggest that you should be able to ride about 40 – 50 miles, once or twice a week, at around 15mph.
If I wanted to join, what should I do next?
We’ll be pleased to welcome you to the Lakes Road Club – please click here to join via British Cycling’s website.