Club rides are the heart and soul of a strong club. The weekly club spins offer an opportunity to not only get some exercise but also to socialise with club mates.
These rides vary in terms of terrain, pace and distance and are always designed to ensure of a tailwind home. FCC have developed a “Ride Rating System” designed to help both new comers and current members choose rides that fit your current ability and fitness level. This system will give you the confidence to be sure you are choosing the right group for you.
All riders are urged to choose the right group for them. This ensure you can maintain the designated pace for the distance and terrain specified and be able to enjoy the ride rather than ending up in a group that doesn't match he pace you would prefer to go.
The ride rating system is available here.
Weekend rides will be announced through the weekly club email (sign up here if you haven’t already done so – Subscribe to FCC Email ) and mid week rides will leave from traditional meeting points with the route called the night before through the specific thread of our new club chat system (Yet to be confirmed, will depend on feasibility)
Groups 1, 2, 3 & 4 are the ratings traditionally used by our club. These groups are rated on speed/pace. Each group will have at least one group captain who will call changes (of riders breaking the wind at the front of the group) adjust the route of necessary and ensure regroups or stops are called.
Camaraderie, group cohesiveness, safety, and enjoyment are all improved when we are able to maintain a group plan and set pace. Riders are reminded of the option to move between groups both up and down, as fitness increases and decreases.
The road club rides will follow a traditional season plan.
Riders who cannot maintain the pace of a group due to fitness level, experience, the type of bike, or other limitations are welcome to attend rides, but should err on the side of caution when choosing a group. A group captain or rider leader is not responsible for riders who cannot follow the designated pace. These riders should avail of the “parachute option” to drop back to the next group on the road. This will give them a chance to recover and the next group will be moving at a slower pace.
Safety should at all times remain the utmost priority during all rides. The rules of the road apply to the cycling group the same way as it does to motor vehicles. Red lights, stop signs, zebra crossings etc must all be respected.
It should also be considered if the entire group has time and space to safely navigate through traffic lights, roundabouts, junctions etc before making a decision as to wether to continue through. Often those at the front of a group have time but those at the rear do not, in this case those at the front should stop to ensure everyone can pass through together and safely.
The Highway Code has the following section regarding cycling, it is advised you make yourself familiar with it.
ROUTE & TERRAIN
The route for club training rides is designed to ensure the group will avail of any tailwind on the homeward bound section of the route. Having a tailwind home will assist anyone struggling with the pace. This may change if their is minimal wind or a recurring event which has a traditional route.
All Saturday and Sunday groups will follow a planned route. Joining a group mid ride is permitted. Unfortunately if a route is changed on the day, riders planning to join the ride mid route may be left waiting on a group that is never going to arrive with them. FCC is a growing club with members in many different areas throughout the North West. It is not always practical for someone to meet at our city based meeting points. The ability to join a group mid ride means more of our members can avail of the group rides and socialise with their club mates.
Each group’s routes will be similar in direction if not the same length. This is to encourage movement between groups and to give a “parachute option” to riders who move to a faster group. This options means riders may drop back to their previous group if they find the pace too much in a faster group.
Pace is an estimate of the average speed the ride will travel measured in miles per hour. At any given moment the actual pace will vary depending on a number of factors such as terrain, distance, group dynamics, road conditions and whatever may happen along the way.
Our pace levels are presented in a table and a graph to help riders find their correct pace range. Groups 1, 2, 3 & 4 are the ratings traditionally used by our club. We
recommend that riders err on the side of caution when choosing a group in their first week and start with a slower pace range. Riders can move up or down through the groups as current fitness dictates. Remember that appropriate pace levels can fluctuate for an individual depending on their current fitness level. Group 1+ is specifically for those who want to race or ride fast. A group 1+ may form before the beginning of the ride or at a stop, after the mid point of a group 1 ride. In the case of a mid ride formation of a group 1+, any riders remaining with the initial group 1 will continue at the set group 1 pace, all riders looking to race should move to group 1+.
All groups, with the exception of group 1+, start together and stay together until at least the last 5 miles.
How to decide which group I am?
At Foyle cc we have two test methods. This is because often a group will move faster than an individual.
1) The Average Speed Method
Measure your average speed over an entire ride with a distance of at least 30 miles. A measurement of average speed does not include time when you are not moving. For example, don’t include time stopped at intersections, regroups, or stops for emergencies or mechanicals. Average speeds for an individual will be higher for a flat ride, and lower for a ride with more climbing, everything else being equal. We have several routes you can ride to determine your average speed.
2) The FCC Two Bridge Test Method
Measure your elapsed time around the “two bridges” course,
To get a meaningful measurement, warm up with a ride to the start. Then ride the lap at your normal pace without drafting. Find where your time falls in the chart below. (Remember to stop your timer if you stop at red lights etc)
Club rides typically include regroups and stops. Examples include junctions, large pullouts, parks, coffee shops, bakeries and shops. Regroups provide an opportunity to keep the group together, get food and water and use local amenities. Stops should be communicated by the ride leader before the ride but may also be called when necessary throughout the ride.
All members of a group should stop together and well off the road. It is better to stop for two minutes to allow a regroup than to cycle at half the intended pace for 5-10 minutes and force an already tiring member to push harder to catch up. If the group is splintered on a hill or climb it is better to regroup after the descent following the climb. If a stop is called at the top of the hill riders who have just pushed hard, over heated and started sweating on the climb can get cold very quickly at the top of a hill and then even colder when descending at speed after the hill. This problem is multiplied during colder winter months.
• None (no planned regroups)
• Occasional (ride leader will determine)
• Frequent (ride leader will determine)
• Stay-together (group rides together over the entire route)
Traditionally groups 1 and 2 will have an increase in pace over the last 5 mile. This allows for those who wish to push themselves towards the end of the ride to do so. This increase in pace should not happen any further than 7 mile from the end of the ride. No regroups will happen from this point onwards but those not wishing to increase their pace can opt to intentionally slow off the back of the main group and regroup in their one smaller group to ride home.
Ride Rating System – Examples
Mid week rides, especially evening rides, will not always have a route called or a traditional rating. For this reason we rate our mid week rides based on the following naming system.