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When it comes to cycling, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of joining a group on a road ride. The camaraderie among cyclists, the thrill of taking on new challenges and the joy of sharing a common goal can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Oh, and there’s also the cake ‘n’ coffee stops. My favorite bit, if I’m being totally truthful 😉
There’s an abundance of benefits to joining a group ride, from improving social connections and learning new skill sets, to building motivation and developing an increased endurance for the sport. Plus, there’s the added bonus of safety in numbers – when you’re riding with others, you can be sure that someone will always have your back.
But what exactly is a group road ride? And what can you expect if you decide to take part in one? To begin with, a group road ride is essentially a gathering of cyclists who come together to achieve a common purpose: having fun while getting some much-needed exercise.
As you may have already guessed, there are far more advantages to riding in a group than just getting to enjoy the scenery as you speed along the open roads. In this blog post, we’ll be taking a closer look at why joining a group ride is a great way to further your cycling goals and what types of benefits you can expect to reap from participating in one.
What is a Group Road Ride?
In simple terms, a group road ride is a collective of cyclists who come together to tackle a cycling route.
It may be a leisurely ride or an intense course, but the idea is that everyone works together to make the experience enjoyable and worthwhile. Whether that’s by ‘drafting’ (where the lead rider rotates to the rear of the pack) to increase every rider’s average speed. Or, by giving friendly words of encouragement to riders who might be struggling that day.
It’s an opportunity for cyclists of all levels to learn new skills, test their endurance, and have fun at the same time.
Each rider’s pace and intensity can be tailored to their own preferences. You’ll often find that a ‘single’ group will separate into smaller groups (with riders of similar pace and abilities) once the ride begins, before generally re-grouping at snack stops and at the end of the ride.
Group road riding benefits
I’m a big fan of heading out on the bike by myself (enjoying the time to think and quietly watch the world go by as I pedal). That said, when there’s an opportunity to take part in a group ride, I jump at it. Why? Well, they’re a lot of fun! Beyond that, there’s a ton of reasons why a group ride makes for a great day out on the bike.
Let’s take a look at the many benefits for roadies of cycling as part of a group ride.
The Benefits of Working Together
Group rides offer the advantage of working together with fellow cyclists that can help one another in times of difficulty.
When you’re on your own, you may hit a wall (of exhaustion, not of bricks – though they may feel like the same thing!) You may also be struggling with a particularly difficult portion of the route, such as steep climb or ferocious headwind.
However, when riding in a group, there are others who can help motivate you, offer encouragement, and support you when you need it most. Working together in a group also allows riders to socialize and share stories, which can make the experience even more enjoyable.
Safety in Numbers
Riding in a group provides an extra layer of safety that would otherwise not be present.
It’s much easier to spot potential hazards while riding in a group than it is when riding on your own – stray animals on the road or a vehicle reversing into the path.
In addition, should anyone encounter unexpected difficulties on the road (mechanical failures or be involved in a road traffic accident), there will be other riders to provide assistance. The sheer presence of others on the route can make motorists more conscious of cyclists (20 cyclists are more noticeable than a solo rider), resulting in greater safety for everyone involved.
Learning New Skill Sets
In many cases, one of the most beneficial aspects of joining a group ride is the chance to pick up new skills from those more experienced than you.
Whether it’s learning how to tackle challenging terrain (getting in the right gear for a short and sharp ascent, for example) or mastering the art of cornering at speed on a loose surface, experienced riders can provide invaluable advice and instruction. By learning from more experienced members of the group, riders can gradually increase their skill level over time. And, the beauty is that those riders can then pass on their knowledge to other newer members of the group.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Different group rides come with different challenges and experiences. Even if riders join the same event multiple times, they’re bound to encounter something new each time they go out. This creates an enjoyable mix of familiarity and novelty that will keep cyclists looking forward to their next ride.
Often someone in a group will suggest a new route that they’ve been on that other riders in the group had never heard of. So, it’s a great opportunity to test out new circuits.
Increased Motivation and Endurance
Having someone beside you while tackling a difficult course can do wonders for your motivation and endurance levels. Knowing that you have someone there to help push you when things get tough can give you just the extra boost you need to keep going and make it through the challenge successfully. This can help greatly improve your performance and increase your overall endurance level over time.
If you’re anything like me, then you’ll know how easy it is to ‘call it a day’ early, rather than see the road through in its entirety. Miles of road that we DON’T cycle, won’t make us any fitter sadly!
Improved Social Connections
Group rides offer an excellent way for cyclists to meet new people, potentially from different backgrounds or professions and with different goals and ambitions.
This creates an environment where people can exchange ideas, ask questions, and learn things they may not have encountered on their own. With some hard work and dedication, this could potentially lead to lifelong friendships and social bonds that would not be possible otherwise.
One of the greatest aspects of joining a group ride is the sense of community it can generate. Riding alongside so many other cyclists offers an opportunity to build relationships with others who share similar interests and goals. These collective experiences can result in increased camaraderie among participants and create memories that will last long after the ride is over.
Riding with a Purpose
Group rides can also have tangible benefits beyond simply cycling as a leisure activity.
Many events are organized for charity purposes or for road safety awareness initiatives. By taking part in such rides, cyclists can help bring attention to important causes and show their commitment to making roads safer for all users – cyclists included!
Taking on New Challenges
When embarking on a group ride, there is no telling what new challenges lie ahead. While it’s important to stay within one’s comfort level and skill level, pushing yourself just enough to take on something new every once in a while can be incredibly rewarding. With each new challenge comes greater confidence and skill development – so don’t be afraid to try something outside your comfort zone.