Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bike Clubs in Ottawa

The Ottawa bicycle club, or OBC is Ottawa's largest bike club and the oldest in Canada. Among other clubs it has a reputation for being elitist or dropping slower riders.

I have ridden with them for this season and find it a wonderful bike club. I have met nothing but great and helpful people and had some terrific rides. The OBC does not live up to the bad press!

If you are like me, once  you start to ride with a club, boredom will quickly set in. There are clubs that do not ride as a peleton and sometimes form pacelines but mainly just strung out in a group at a sort of speed. This bores me to no end. The OBC has speed ranges but that does not mean that as a group you can't go faster or depends on the group. At times I have cut my pace and at other times asked that the pace be is a group effort. The joy is the fact that you can vary and the routes are always interesting. I also like the fact that we do not stop for long lunches. I don't mind a lunch if the food is exceptional, but often I find all a lunch does is  slow you down and  does nothing to enhance the ride. It is easier and more efficient to pack snacks and eat as you ride. The point of a ride for me is the fitness aspect and the technique. Unless I am on a multi day tour, I will almost never stop for a lunch. (Coffee is another matter!)

Today I did a shorter ride against a very heavy wind. Unfortunately for most of the ride the wind was against us. I 'pulled' the group, meaning I led the group as I am used to wind. At the end of the ride we had a picnic...again I met new and fascinating individuals all of whom share my love of cycling and bikes in general.

A club like this strives for excellence but there is really no room for arrogance. Trust me, you will always find a better cyclist than you, and certainly one with more experience. Today for instance, I learned that I had installed my seat bag upside down. It puzzled me why it was so awkward to access and  now I know.

If any of you are interested in cycling in Ottawa here are the clubs that I have tried and some I have not:

The CCTS..this is a great club made up of retirees. The problem is finding leaders for rides but overall a great experience. They ride Tuesdays and Thursdays

Kanata Nepean Bike Club:
 While there are speeds they don't ride in a peleton, and stop for long lunches. I have found safety to be an issue here as they do not know how to ride in a group and many don't like drafting which really makes the ride a lot easier. This is more of a social club. If  you are interested in improving yourself as a cyclist or trying a time trial, racing or reliability rides,  I would not recommend this club.

Arnprior Bicycle Club
A full service bike club with racing and very well run. A bit of a drive for us in Ottawa.

 The Ottawa Bicycle Club
Truly has something for everyone, socials, numerous rides and is fantastic. You will never be bored here folks.

Other clubs
Women on Wheels , Velo Plaisir and West Quebec Wheelers

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