Velo Club Walcot welcomes new members and there’s even a special Sunday group

Sunday 2nd December will be the first of VC Walcot’s new-style club runs where we divide the riders at the Guildhall into two so that newer riders get an opportunity for, as club Chairman Paul Robson puts it, “a steady ride without the pain.”

This will be a regular first-sunday-of-the-month event for now while we gauge the response. It could easily turn weekly if it’s a success but we’re keen to ensure that this new group is well looked after by experienced leaders with key members even attending official British Cycling coaching courses to ensure we’re up to the job.

This initial ride will be led by Jonathan Arnold with Nick Rearden assisting and will take place at the usual Club Run time of 9.30am in front of the Bath Guildhall. A route will be posted on here nearer the time but the distance depending on weather will be around 28-30 miles. The plan is to ride at a pace that everyone in the group can maintain and we’ll wait at the top of each big climb to allow a breather and a catch up so that slower climbers can ride at their own comfortable pace.

It’s all about the average speed

We anticipate an average speed in the area of 12mph as opposed to the 16mph typically achieved by the current Sunday riders. This is a particular issue in Bath as the surrounding local hills break up a traditional group ride far more than than it does in other important cities such as London and Cambridge.

This development has come about in response to requests for a more moderate pace than the weekly ‘relentless’ group traditionally maintains, made up as it is with super-fit and experienced members. We already have a good number of potential riders waiting in the wings for this new development so we’re confident that new members will have something important to gain from VC Walcot membership.

At the recent AGM we discussed at length the welcome rise in interest in club cycling, either among adults who might be generally fit but just not equipped with the skills and experience for group riding. Or younger riders from 14 upwards whose parents would be concerned about them riding unsupervised on the road. This latter group is particularly important in light of the new tarmac circuit in development at Odd Down, where the club will need to be equipped in skills for supervision and coaching.

Velo Club Walcot is promoting this new group ride in the Bath area for cyclists who have a road bike and a hankering for taking it to the next fitness and skill levels. The hope, of course, is that after serving time in the new group members might feel ready to join the traditional ‘relentless’ group. It may well be that as things develop some current riders may choose to ride with one or the other group based on how they’re feeling on the day. Either way, the priority will be on delivering a moderately-paced, social and safe ride, where we don’t mind chatting and taking in the countryside that we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by, even if we complain about the hills sometimes.

Get yourself kitted out

It’s worth mentioning for new riders that your road bike will need to be in roadworthy condition, with good tyres pumped up to recommended pressure. You’ll need to carry a pump and both at least one spare inner tube along with the traditional backup puncture repair outfit and tyre levers. This usually stashes in a little pack under your saddle but if you’re in any doubt about anything including special winter clothing, you’re welcome to email (see Contact on the right) or even better post your question on the VC Walcot Facebook page where other members both new and experienced can join in.

Think-of-a-group-name competition

By the way, we’re also looking for a snappy name for this group other than the one that enjoys “a steady ride without the pain” so shout if you have any bright ideas and it can become our twitter hashtag. But we certainly don’t want to use any term that signifies the new group is ‘slow’ or in any way less significant than the established group. It is, in fact, the future of the club and a contribution towards the propagation of healthy sport and outdoor pursuits in the Bath area.