Members earn points for every event (group ride, TT etc.) they attend. And bonus points are awarded for leading or organizing an event. These points will be used to buy goodies and services at an auction in the off season.
Points Earned for 2023
EMAIL / BULLETIN BOARD – Keeping Informed
The Owen Sound Cycling Club uses a variety of tools to communicate with members and for members to interact with each other.
If you are a new member, a returning member with a new email address or a guest, be sure to subscribe to our email list. This will ensure that you receive any important club announcements.
The Schedule link will take you to a calendar with a list of all upcoming group rides, time trials and social events. Because it is a Google calendar, you can click on the +Google link (bottom right) to add the OSCC calendar to your Google account. Once you’ve added the calendar, you can choose to be notified of new or changed events, etc.
Follow us on Twitter to receive notification of last minute cancellations and venue changes, etc.
We also have a Bulletin Board where you can chat with other members, buy and sell, coordinate car pooling and share technical tips. You must register on the BB before you can post. Registered members can also subscribe to topics: you will be alerted via email when there is an update. Even if you don’t register and post to the bulletin board, it’s a good idea to view it once in a while to see what’s happening.
- What kind of bikes do you ride?
That depends what type of riding you want to do. Most of us prefer to ride on the roads, so generally we have chosen to ride road bikes, but in effect, any roadworthy bike can be used to ride on the road. They are generally in good mechanical condition and often have mudguards fitted in the winter for road riding. Mountain bikes (also known as MTBs or ATBs) are the choice for people who want to ride off-road, and there are plenty of people in the club who do that too.
- Can I ride my mountain bike on the road?
Yes, no problem, though they are usually heavier than a road bike, so hence harder work uphill. You will find the ride improved by putting slick tyres on your mountain bike however. Another area that would benefit you is to buy some pedals that you clip in to. We can offer advice here if need be.
- My bike is only cheap.
More expensive bikes benefit from being lighter, which means they are easier to ride uphill, but ultimately it doesn’t matter how expensive a bike is, as long as it’s well maintained. A well maintained bike will run smoother, have fewer mechanical problems, and will be more fun to ride.
- You all look a bit professional dressed in the Lycra. I don’t want to wear Lycra.
Lycra can be a bit ‘revealing’, but we dress like that for reasons of comfort. The shorts have a synthetic chamois pad which helps keep your bum comfortable. The materials used in all the clothing tend to breathe well, reducing discomfort from sweating, and they don’t flap around in the wind. Basic rules for a beginner are ride in whatever you’re comfortable.
- I’m pretty interested, but want to get some advice on kit. Could you guys help?
Yes, simply ask. Most of us have experiences of various bikes and equipment and would be only too happy to advise you what to buy, and what to avoid. We’ve made the mistakes, no need for you to copy our errors!
- Do you shave your legs?
Some of us do, some of us don’t, no rules. Generally it’s people who race who shave their legs, and the main reasons are not for wind resistance. Shaven legs are easy to massage, and can look nice!
- I don’t like riding near cars or on busy roads.
Neither do we. Generally, all our rides are on quiet back roads, away from cars as much as possible. We get out to these roads as soon as we can. For some of the time trials the junctions are marshalled to increase visibility and driver awareness. Of course, we also have mountain bikers, and their rides are almost exclusively away from traffic.
- How fit do I need to be to be able to come riding with you?
You’ll need a reasonable level of fitness to be able to do a group ride By reasonable level of fitness, we’d suggest that you should be able to ride at about 25 km h on the flat for a distance of about 40 km. If you wanted to ride a club time trial (an event where you ride a set distance against the clock), then you are testing yourself, so there is no minimum speed.
- Do I need to be in the club to come on a ride or do a time trial?
Any one participating in an Owen Sound Cycling Club ride (group ride, time trial, off-road ride) must be a member. The signed waiver must be on file and you might be asked to produce your membership card. The membership fee includes OCA insurance. If you already have OCA or UCI insurance, then you can join for a nominal $5.
- I see that you all seem to ride close together in a group. If I did that, I’d be afraid of knocking someone off.
Don’t be. At first it might seem very daunting, but if you’d never ridden in a group, we’d start by placing you at the back of the group where you’d not have to worry about people around you. From there we could teach you the basics and soon get you riding within the group as your confidence increased.
- But why ride so close together?
You’ll see! Riding ‘on someone’s wheel’ as it’s called gives you the benefit of slipstream. Riding close enough to the person in front of you can save you as much as 15-40% of your energy, depending on the speed and size of the group.
- Is everyone else fast? What if I can’t keep up?
Try riding as far as you can on a flat road at 25 km h. If you can ride about 50 km in two hours in varied terrain then you’re probably fit enough. That is about the speed of our group rides, and it is always easier when you are in a group. If you start to struggle, don’t worry, we’ve all been there, and someone will ride with you to ensure you are OK. We won’t leave you behind in the middle of nowhere. And, anyone in the club can lead a ride. The rides just have to be planned a week or so in advance so our insurer can be informed. So if you want to do a slower, recreational ride you can do so.
- Do I have to race?
Not at all. You do as much or as little as you like. You may find that racing is infectious, especially time trials which are done entirely at your own speed. In a time trial you are racing against your previous personal best times always trying to better them.
- You haven’t answered all my questions!
Contact one of the following…
Owen Sound Cycling Club Recreational Riding
Riding in a group can be the most enjoyable experience if done in the right way. However, group riding can also be a huge pain if people in the group don’t understand the rules. Everyone needs to know these rules for everyone’s safety.
To start your ride
Be sure you are in the right group for you. This may mean the right distance, and average speed estimate for you on that day. There are times we want to stretch our limits to test our cycling progress and there are times we want to enjoy the relaxing ride with a friendly group. Before the ride, ensure you know what the group is planning. The group leader is responsible to keep the group to the agreed upon pace and distance. If a smaller segment of the group finds they wish to ride faster or slower, or more or less distance, they should notify the group leader before breaking off.
Be predictable with all actions
Avoid sudden braking and changes of direction. Try to maintain a steady straight line. Remember that there are riders following closely behind. To slow down, gradually move out into the wind and slot back into position in the line. By putting your hands on the hoods on your brakes you can “sit up” and put more of your body in the wind to slow down slightly without using your brakes.
Ride safely and try to stay off the brakes. If you are inexperienced and too nervous to ride close to the wheel in front of you, stay at the back and practice. When the pace eases, don’t brake suddenly, instead ride to the side of the wheel in front and ease the pedaling off, then drop back on the wheel. Do not overlap the wheel in front. Practice on the back and soon you will be able to move up the line confidently. When at the back, you can open a gap for someone to slot in front if they are coming off the front of the group.
Rolling through – swapping off – taking a turn
The most common way to take a turn on the front of the group is to stay in line until you get to the front. After having a turn on the front (generally about the same amount of time as everyone else is taking, but can be shorter if you wish), you will move to the side agreed upon by the group at the outset, allowing the rider behind to come through to the front. Do not slow down prior to moving to the side in order for the line to maintain its speed. To get to the back, stop pedalling for a while to slow down, keep an eye out for the end of the bunch and fall back into line there. It is safer for everyone if you get to the back as quickly as possible as the group is effectively riding two-abreast until you slot in at the back of the line. The rider at the back of the line can call out “last” to enable you to gather speed and slot in easily rather than having to surge at the back to keep up.
Be smooth with turns at the front of the group
Avoid surges unless you are trying to break away from the group. Surges cause gaps further back in the bunch which in turn creates a “rubber band” effect as riders at the back have to continually chase to stay with the bunch. This is particularly evident in larger groups when cornering or taking off from standing starts at traffic lights where the front of the group can be almost at full speed before the back of the group is moving. Also, maintain your speed prior to coming off the front. Only slow when you are off the front of the line to allow the new rider at the front to maintain the speed of the group.
Choosing when to come off the front
You need to do some planning when you get on the front so that when you roll through you come off at a place where the road is wide enough for the group to be two-wide for a short time. With some planning, it is often possible to come off the front a few hundred metres earlier or later to avoid a dangerous situation and avoid unnecessarily upsetting motorists. Since we ride on open roads, a mirror to check for traffic is always advised. Remember, the idea is to not tire anyone out needlessly with long turns at the front of the line. Try to share the workload.
Always retire to the back of the bunch
If riders push in somewhere in the middle of the line rather than retiring to the back after taking a turn, cyclists at the back will not be able to move forward and take a turn of their own. This will make them very cranky and colourful language may ensue. No one wants to be stuck down the back of the bunch for the entire ride and subjected to the “rubber band” effect. Remember that riding in a group is about all riders sharing the workload, and the fun.
Pedal downhill when at the front of the bunch. Cyclists dislike having to ride under brakes. However, after taking advantage of the run out from the downhill added speed, gradually resume the agreed up on pace on the flats. Going downhill at 40 km/hr does not mean that the lead rider tries to maintain that speed on the flat when the agreed upon pace may have been, for example, 30 km/hr.
Point out obstacles
Point out obstacles such as loose gravel, broken glass, holes, rocks or debris on the road, calling out “hole” etc as well as pointing is helpful in case someone is not looking at your hand when you point. It is just as important to pass the message on, not just letting those close to the front know. Another obstacle is a parked car, call out “car” and sweep your hand around your back to let people behind know. Point out runners or walkers on bike tracks and slower bikes if you are passing someone on the road.
Hold your wheel
An appropriate gap between your front wheel and the person in front is around 50-60cm (20-24 in). keep your hands close to the brakes in case of sudden slowing. Sometimes people who are not used to riding in a bunch will feel too nervous at this close range – riding on the right side is generally less nerve-racking for such people as they feel less hemmed in. Watching “through” the wheel in front of you to one or two riders ahead will help you hold a smooth, straight line. Try not to focus only on the back tire or saddle of the person in front.
Don’t leave gaps when following wheels
Maximize your energy savings by staying close to the rider in front. Cyclists save about 30 per cent of their energy at high speed by following a wheel. Each time you leave a gap you are forcing yourself to ride alone to bridge it. Also, riders behind you will become annoyed and ride around you. If you cannot hold the wheel of the person in front and a gap appears and you are feeling the wind resistance, let the person behind you know as they may be more rested and able to move ahead allowing you to pull in behind them and together gradually pull back into the group.
Don’t overlap wheels
A slight direction change or gust of wind could easily cause you to touch wheels with the rider in front and fall.
Don’t slow when standing
If you are on a hill or grade, and find yourself in a bigger gear than desired, need to fill a gap with a short surge or just to relieve back soreness for a minute, you may have to stand to pace for a short distance. It’s never a regular practice as proper gearing and cadence with you staying in the saddle is more efficient. If you are going to stand, always stand while pushing down on your pedal as you begin to stand, never by pulling on your handle bars to pull yourself up. This last technique means your bike is being pulled back to you and slows perceptively, and can cause the rider behind to run into your wheel even though they have not changed their speed. When climbing a steeper hill, a tight pace line is not advisable. Increase your distance and climb at your own pace regrouping after the climb.
Getting back onto the saddle
Similarly to keeping your speed when moving off the saddle, if you are standing to pedal, or have been in an aerodynamic position to draft or going downhill, always move back onto the saddle with a down stroke on your pedals, not by just pushing with your arms and begin to pedal. This is to maintain speed as you change position and do not cause yourself to slowdown when moving your body position.