Sorry about the radio silence the last week guys!
Exams are thankfully almost over, not long until I’m back full time on the A1 train.
In light of A1 Coaching setting up a new cycling club, it has reminded me of the importance of being in a club.
It is where you learn your trade. Anyone can ride a bike. The difference between your everyday person that rides a bike and us cyclists is the skills you learn while a part of a club or group over months and years.
How to ride in a group, how to fix punctures and cycling etiquette are just some of the basic skills you learn in a club and that is what differentiates us cyclists from the rest of the world.
I’m not saying it’s impossible to learn these things without being involved in a club.
Using the internet alone, you could learn just as much.
However, a cycling club speeds up the learning process by giving you the perfect environment to practise these skills.
Having the facility of practical application is always far more effective.
When I look back at my early years on the bike, I think it’s safe to say I made every mistake in the book.
I forgot spares, I forgot food, I couldn’t fix a puncture, my saddle was too low, I fell over at traffic lights while wearing clipless pedals, I rode out in the wind on group rides, I didn’t wear enough clothes during winter rides etc. I could go on forever!
Nearly everyone one of those mistakes was rectified as a result of being in a club. More experienced members pasted down their knowledge to me, they always offered a helping hand or some advice, I attended bike maintenance classes and most importantly I always had my eyes glued on the ‘good lads’.
I took mental notes on equipment they used, the gears they used when climbing, how they conducted themselves etc.
All those years of experience were pasted down to me in a matter of weeks. Before I knew it I was no longer the awkward kid showing up on group spins, I started to fit seamlessly into the group.
It’s a facility to learn like no other.
The benefits of joining a club don’t stop at learning a thing or two as well.
You explore roads you never knew existed, meet new people and the miles tick by without you even noticing them as chat with your club mates and enjoy your surroundings.
Some clubs are lucky enough to have league races.
These are small local races that are restricted to members of your club and possibly some clubs in the surrounding area.
Again, it provides an amazing opportunity to learn.
The races are that bit smaller, slower and less stressful. It gives you that opportunity to observe how races are conducted without being thrown into the deep end straight away and having to learn in an extremely competitive open race.
Ask most successful riders, it’s where they all started out and learned how to race.
Unfortunately in this game there aren’t many shortcuts.
It’s a matter of taking one step at a time.
Starting from the bottom, showing up to your first group spin making every mistake in the book and learning from it.
Clubs have always followed this model. They all follow a similar format; Local riders, go cycling on local roads on the weekends and race on local circuits. It is a very restricted tight knit community.
However, with the world being tighter knit that ever with the power of social media, it offers a massive opportunity for clubs to remove this restriction of them being a localised gathering.
Clubs like Rapha CC have brought together people from around the world through cycling.
Their club has members worldwide.
A1Members has over 1000 athletes from all over the world.
Why should they have to be broken up into separate clubs? Why don’t all of these people stick together and share their knowledge?
Local clubs may have a pool of 100 members to pass their knowledge on, imagine 1000 members sharing their knowledge!
Imagine group rides organised all over the world by one club. Imagine if you were on a business trip or a weekend away in a foreign country and your club had a group spin there.
The possibilities are endless!
A1 Coaching is known for pushing the boat out. We often do things that others shy away from.
So I can almost guarantee A1 CC will be a club like no other.
But most importantly, we hope A1 CC can provide a similar type of learning environment for beginners to develop.
Hopefully ever member that joins will gain something from being a part of it.
Hopefully it will be a club that will grow into the future and will have riders that go on to achieve great things.