Fancy a bit more adrenaline in your riding? If so it is time to get signed up for a Racing License. There are a number of regular races for everyone from elite to beginner local to Richmond. It certainly helps with entries to be a member of a club, we recommend Twickenham CC but Kingston Wheelers, London Dynamo, Richmond Park Rouleurs are all local and have a visible presence on our local roads and racetracks.
Hillingdon racetrack is our nearest introduction to British Cycling endorsed racing and has regularly scheduled Saturday afternoon (winter) and Tuesday night (spring onwards) races. They can be quite hairy at times but it is a great way to get used to riding in a racing peloton. We are also lucky to have the Lee Valley Velopark over in the Olympic park, a closed circuit loop surrounded by iconic sports arenas from the 2012 Olympics.
As you gain points in the lower categories you will progress upwards towards the holy grail of Elite cat races. British Cycling offer racing for kids, juniors and age group adults so there are no barriers to entering! The experience and sheer speed that you will gain from racing will be invaluable as you reach a higher level. Race craft is something that can only be gained by doing, not watching or discussing so it really is just a matter of getting involved.
You won’t be allowed to race any of these events without an up to date British Cycling racing license so that is the first job to do. After that, get racing!
Group Ride Do's
· Find a group where the pace is right for you, all of the manoeuvres in a group ride will be much easier if you are not at your limit.
· Listen carefully to any club rules, or if riding a sportive or on the open road then introduce yourself to the group when joining up.
· Communicate clearly. Loud calls warning of any approaching hazards are always helpful and the safest and most efficient groups are always the loud, chatty ones.
· Signals are crucial. On our local roads a pothole warning is the one most frequently used- a clear single finger point at the hole. A loud shout of hole is often encouraged also!
· Pull longer- not harder! If you are rotating the front with riders of varying speeds then the speed should stay constant but stronger riders are advised to pull longer turns with weaker riders doing a short rotation. This keeps the pace manageable for all and helps manage fatigue levels in the group.
Group Ride Don’ts
· Be late. It’s tedious for everyone.
· Push too hard, the advantage of riding in a group is the overall efficiency. This is not helped by individuals pushing so hard the group fractures. Be patient, take your time- you will be surprised how quickly a well run group can knock off the miles.
· Pull away hard from red lights. The concertina effect will mean that those at the back of the group have to expend way more effort to hold the wheel than is fair. Roll off steady.
· Swerve late without signalling to avoid an obstacle. Think about it, you hid the obstacle and then exposed it last minute. The rider behind you has no chance, they will hit it…
· Hit your brakes unnecessarily, unless you really have to it is far better to back off the power than brake- braking will make a crash more likely and cause over effort to bridge back to the group once a split occurs.