Ask RIDE…How do I approach a bunch?
I have been riding mountain bikes for years and just purchased my first road bike. I am really getting into it but don’t intend on racing. How do I approach a club bunch on the road and join in on their ride?
Cheers, Jack H
The first thing to do is check the local clubs that ride in your area. This can be found on your state cycling federation’s website. Then go to their respective websites and have a look around; the club rides should be listed and will give you an indication of the aims of the club.
Then when you see some that you like try to send them an email. Most are very happy for new members and would love to introduce you to bunch riding. When you arrive in the morning to the club’s meeting spot, be sure to make yourself known as a newcomer – it avoids any confusion when you’re out on the road and is a great ice-breaker for conversation with other cyclists.
Be honest about your fitness level and bike experience – it’s safest for everyone if the ride captain knows how much to look out for you.
If you are out on the road and want to tag onto a bunch, it is usually completely fine. There are just a few etiquette points that won’t make anyone turn their noses up at you!
- If it is a bunch you do not know, tag onto the back of it. Sounds obvious, but I have seen random riders serve straight into the middle of a bunch when they wanted to get a ride.
- Ask one of the riders closest if they mind if you tag along. Most will not. However, be mindful of the fact it could be a training group with specific work to do and that you might have to work out how to hitch a ride, but not disrupt their training.
- It is useful to also ask where they are heading. It is pretty bad to hitch a ride to the wrong place! Get a feel for whether you should talk a bit more to the other riders, or whether they prefer silence. Remember, if you’re getting the ride from a bunch, you’re their guests of sorts.
- If riders roll from the front, give them space so they can slot in front of you.
- Most bunches are social and will chat amongst themselves. If you find yourself talking to a couple of them, why not ask where they go to coffee and join them.
I hope this helps next time you want to get riding with a bunch when you’re out on the road.
John is Office Assistant at RIDE and handles subscriptions.
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