A Winter Bike League For Recreational Riders. Really???

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There are many things that I would love to do with cycling, as it relates to recreational riders…which is the vast majority of cyclists.   But, I haven’t won the lottery yet, so I am limited with the amount of time I can devote and still feed my family.  That said, one of the biggest items is starting a Winter Bike League for all those who do not race and who may not be a paying club member.  Only a couple of cycling clubs have their own WBL of sorts but there is still not one that is open to ALL recreational cyclists.  Obviously, now is the time to dial in this sort of idea but it would only happen with tremendous support from all sides.

First off, let me explain what a WBL is….and isn’t.  If you are familiar with the incredibly successful WinterBikeLeague in the Athens area, those riders start out at 20mph avg and it just goes up from there.  As far as mileage, 60+ miles is a typical beginning point and grows upwards into 3-digit rides.  The one I would want to create would not have this as a starting point.  The focus would be a very organized double pace lines (at all times) and riding as a group.  If you want speed or show off how fast you can ride, then this is NOT for you; there are many options you can show off at.

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 2.28.02 PM Second, my thought is to keep the same starting point for all WBL rides.  This eliminates me from having to create new routes for all over the metro Atlanta and then scurry to find Ride Leaders for all those different areas.  Maybe for the 1st season, we would limit to once-a-month ride and then expanding more in future seasons.

Third, I would want to have a SAG vehicle follow us at all times.  This would involve paying someone for their time and gas to provide this service.  Having them carry extra bottles, taking your winter gear off (if you get too warm) or stopping so that you could put more clothing on, as I can tell you, would be priceless.  You would feel like the pros do.

Forth, I would want to allow different bike shops around the city to be involved.  To have any successful cycling event, you just about can’t pull that off without some involvement from your local bike shops.  Any time we can support them, that is a good thing.

Lastly, my thought is there would have to be some sort of fee to be charged.  This would predominately go towards SAG vehicle costs and any printing, etc.

OK, now that I have had the chance to share my perspective, it’s your turn to sound off.  Since you would be the onesScreen Shot 2013-11-05 at 2.27.32 PM attending, I want to hear from you.  Is this something you would like to be apart of?  Would you be willing to pay a small fee to be a part of something like this?  How much is your limit?  How far are you willing to drive to get to a starting point for a ride?

These are some of the questions I would love for you to answer.  This event would be for you so trying to create something without having your input would be like trying to shove something down your throat that you didn’t want.  In other words, PLEASE send me your comments, suggestions, etc.  That said, this world has enough negative so please keep all your comments positive and send only those that you think would really make a difference.

Obviously, time is of the essence so I am looking to read a LOT of comments from YOU.  Just click on the ‘Leave a Comment’  at the very top of this Blog entry.

Let’s see where this leads.  THANKS!!!!

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62 responses to “A Winter Bike League For Recreational Riders. Really???

    • Pace would prob start out at 14’ish, depending upon terrain. I want a TRUE winter pace ride, as there is not one that exists for the masses of riders. As weeks go by, the speed/distance would increase. This way, come next season, folks have a great base for endurance, cardio, aerobic foundations to spring from vs. starting all over again each riding season.

      Good feedback!!!!!!

    • Very interested as well. Just getting into it, so most group rides I know of are too fast for me. I live and work in Decatur, so anything on this side of town would be something I could work in to my schedule, but would be willing to drive a bit meet up with other riders.

  1. Sounds great! I live in Dunwoody and would like it to be close to this area. My job (ops manager at a local shop) might keep me from some rides. But I am interested in it.

  2. Robert I love the idea, you and I have talked about this many times. In fact this is something that I have been talking to my regular Jackson County Saturday group riders about. As for paying a small fee to have a SAG driver, absolutely, $5 to $10 once or twice a month would be well worth it. Would be like having a store stop and coat closet all in one … I also agree with having it in one starting location, for many reasons, but mostly consistency, all good rides that have stood the test of time have this as a major factor/plus. Being at a single stating point also gives people who don’t always ride the knowledge of knowing how to get to the ride and what the terrain is like, peace of mind.

    Just my 2 cents worth ….

    Wayne Clayton

      • your welcome Robert. One other point that somehow I forgot to make / ask … Only doing the ride once a month really does not serve as a Winter “recovery” ride does it … to me it takes a commitment of 10 to 12 weeks of easy riding to recovery and rebuild. Now I know that very few people could make every ride but having a steady ride available would sever all better …. your thoughts on this!!

        This might require setting the ride in one place with several leaders who are all on the same page … and willing to work together to keep things under control.

        !!! Sure i’m over thinking all this … but thats the point RIGHT 🙂 !!!!

  3. I like the idea. Too often training rides are just too far to drive. Groups and routes according to ability. Launch the rides from local shops to allow riders to experience individual shops which will allow for potential clients to get to know their shops, maybe do basic adjustments morning of and have someone available for SAG.
    The $25 fee for the One Can Ride would seem appropriate fee for the support and rest stop for such a ride.
    Having a cycling coach who could help train riders leading up to a specific event could be very cool for everything from training plans to bike fitting etc for a fee would be very cool,

  4. I would certainly like to participate and am willing to pay for the SAG costs. Guess cost will be dependent on how many people attend. Reasonable cost is always relative :).
    I would be wiling to drive up to 70 miles.

      • If we had enough people from each area, it would be even cheaper. There are a lot of guys on the south side who could car pool. An hour drive is nothing for a good wknd training ride.

      • Thank you Matt for replying. The hardest part is picking a location that would be realistic for us all. In a city this size, that is almost impossible. Working hard on it, though….

  5. Very interesting! I live in Brookhaven and would travel up to 60′ for a ride start location. Wiling to pay up to $35. Speed 14 to 18 mph avg.

  6. I like it. Agree with previous comments, $25 would probably be a minimum to get someone to dedicate a day to us. Gotta remember what time is worth, as well as gas, etc.. The JCB course or the apalachee course seem reasonable (elevation/distance). Motivation is priceless in the middle of January when it seems so easy to just be lazy. Always looking out for us Robert, thank you!

  7. Sounds great. My participation would depend on distance to starting point. I think a variety of starting points might be fun. I tend to venture out of my normal rides during winter. SAG support would be good as long as fees are appropriate. I’d probably recommend a minimum mileage before SAG is needed though. Keeps us posted and thanks for your efforts.

  8. Robert – count us in. We live in town (Decatur) but drive to Cartersville or the Gaps almost weekly to ride, so we are willing to travel a bit if the ride is good enough. Not sure how it would go over, but I could see you charging a “season” rate as well as a slightly higher, one-day “drop-in” rate. Looking forward to seeing where this goes – good luck!

    • Thanks Rusty. good info for sure. slammed w/interest so working on putting this thing together… keep an eye out. If you join my Blog, then you won’t miss any announcements, too. Thanks for sharing with all your cycling friends….

  9. Hey Rob,
    Your WBL for slower riders is a great idea. I would be willing to make a one time donation to assist with sag etc…. A lot of people that ride with Velo would be interested . Please send your article over to Velo yahoo groups.

  10. I organize “Relaxer / Beginner” rides for the Montgomery, AL club. We generally find that 13 – 15 is a good avg pace. Distance can start at about 20 miles (with a rest stop 1/2 way) and lengthen up to 40 ish (Which we call “Club Lite”). It draws in riders and many move on up to longer and quicker paced rides as they gain fitness and confidence. We review rules of the road every time a new face joins us. SAG is a fun idea, but not needed if you have store stops planned. Some education on cold weather layering will help, as will having a saddle or handlebar bag that can stow/dispense en route necessaries. Starting or ending at a bike shop is a nice idea, to provide business opportunity for the shop, and convenience for riders who find a need for something day-of-ride. Thanks for the idea. We may copy it 🙂

  11. Great idea! Not a racer so I primarily ride for health and fitness. Plus this would be perfect for maintaining your group cycling skills throughout the year since most rec cyclist ride solo or not at all during winter. $5-10 is ok and I drive all over now for quality rides. Nevertheless, count me in!

  12. I’d be willing to drive 30 minutes (I live on the West side of town right ITP) and I’ll echo the sentiment that although it may be the inaugural season, it really would best serve folks if the WBL ride was weekly/bi-weekly as opposed to monthly; maybe it could only be sagged monthly. Also, I like the idea of a per-ride rate and a season rate. I’d be willing to pay $5 – 10 per ride if sagged; it would be great too if I could pay day of in cash or credit.

  13. I like the idea, and agree with several others about frequency–more frequent the better–at least once/week–I know that you would like just one route, but wonder if alternating two, starting on different sides of town, might be possible? Thanks!

  14. Sounds like a good idea, Robert. Like the idea about paying a “seasonal” rate, or a pay as you go rate. Weather being what it is you never know which rides, or how many, may end up being canceled. Also like the idea about weekly vs monthly rides. The more the merrier…

  15. I also like the concept. To be fair we should have some different routes. If we get enough riders the cost per person can go down for the SAG. I don’t believe that would include “rest stops”, however. Stores are generally available on most routes.

  16. Gina and I would be up for it and would even drive to Jackson to do it. As for paying the sag, why not do like the Athens WBL does with everybody tipping what they fee is appropriate. Maybe have a recommended minimum. As for distance, 30 -60 milers would be beneficial, not sure I would drive an hour to ride 20 miles with a stop in the middle…

  17. I like the idea of an Atlanta WBL ride. I’ve considered joining in on the Athens ride, but driving that distance for a ride would make it very infrequent. Living in Decatur I’d like the ride to be within 30 minutes of town. I’d easily pay $25 per ride for SAG. I like the idea of the same starting point. Distance 45-60 miles. Pace 18 avg range. Early morning starts are best. Alternatives to Airport or other in-town group rides keep the winter riding going.

  18. I would really like such a ride…I’m willing to pat $25-50…willing to drive 30 min from Buckhead….would like 30-40 miles…and a pace of 15-20miles

  19. I am willing to support the WBL like winter pace in our area. 16 to 18’s for 60 miles is a very excellent winter pace and increasing the mileage at the same 16 to 18’s as the months go by. We may want to consider biweekly so riders can sustain there training.

  20. Robert, thanks for initiating the discussion. I’d be interested in rides Saturday or Sunday morning, 16-19 mph, 40-60 miles. Will pay for SAG.

  21. 25 or 30 miles to start working up to 60+. sub 15mph pace. Might drive 30 min from Dunwoody. per ride “tipping” for the sag driver. would this be sat or sun?

  22. Sounds like a great idea. I hate riding the trainer in winter so it rarely happens and every spring I’m starting over.
    I’m in Kennesaw and would be willing to drive 30-40 minutes and $15 – $20 is reasoable for a quality ride.

    Thanks for your efforts.

  23. Great idea! I live in Decatur and I am willing to drive up to an hour to meet up for a ride on the weekends. Willing to pay in the $25 to $50 range and could make multiple times per month.

  24. I am interested on weekend rides around 10AM. Price isn’t as much as an issue as driving disctance. I wouldn’t want to drive over 25 minutes from Midtown Atlanta.

  25. I like this idea. Living in Acworth I find that all of the shop rides (avg. 17-19 mph) are a bit too fast for me; 14 mph avg. is more my speed. I usually ride through the winter by myself and would like to join a regular group ride as you have proposed. Driving 30-45 minutes is not a problem and paying for SAG support makes sense. Riding two to three times a month would be even better.

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