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"Dirt", December 1, 2012

GET A GROUP

HEADING OUT FOR A RIDE BY YOURSELF MAY BE FUN WHEN YOU FIRST GET YOUR NEW ROAD CYCLE BUT EVENTUALLY THE NOVELTY WEARS OFF. THAT’S WHEN YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR WAYS TO CHANGE IT UP TO KEEP YOURSELF MOTIVATED. ONE OF THE BEST WAYS IS TO SEEK OUT SOME GROUP RIDES AND ORGANISED EVENTS

WORDS BY SHANE BOOTH

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT BERNARD

YOUR MATES

This is always the best place to start. If any of your mates have road cycles, work out a set time and location for a weekly ride. The key to this is turning up rain, hail or shine. The first couple of weeks are important; once you get three or four weeks out of the way, you’ll find everyone will get into it as it becomes part of your weekly routine. Usually the group will grow as your mates invite some of their mates and so on. Before you know it you’ll have a great group ride once a week with a bunch of your mates.

LOCAL GROUP RIDES

More often than not, there will already be some regular group rides in the vicinity of where you live. It’s just a matter of doing a little research to find out where and when they happen. The best place to start is your local bicycle store — in many cases the store itself will run at least one organised ride per week. After all, it’s good business for them to offer somewhere to ride your new bike you just purchased from them. If they don’t, they should know some times and locations of regular group rides. The other easy way to source a local group ride is online; search your local area for cycling group rides and you should find some info there.

ORGANISED EVENTS

These things are growing more and more popular by the week. There is probably an organised cycling event just about every weekend if you’re really keen. They are generally based around a charity and are not actually a race, just set route and distance. Some of these events, such as the Sydney to Gong ride, attract up to 10,000 riders. You can usually enter individually or as a team with a bunch of friends. One of the biggest benefits of these events is the fact it’s a set date and if you commit to it early enough it gives you a goal to train for. It will help keep you motivated, especially if you’ve entered with a group of friends.

CRIT RACING

If you get really keen and are looking for more riding and increased intensity, this could work for you. A criterium or crit racing is conducted on a short race circuit where riders complete a set number of laps. It’s a popular form of cycle racing and you can quite often find a local club that runs crit racing of an evening midweek, especially during summer months. It’s actually a very good form of training because you get increased intensity from the race environment. The only downside is the slight risk of being caught up in a crash and injuring yourself.

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