Joining a cycling club might seem a bit daunting if you're new to cycling or unsure of your fitness. Here are the answers to some of the questions you might have.
What can I do if I join?
If you join the Wheelers, you can:
Join any of our rides (providing you are at least 12 years old)
Buy and wear the club kit (top, shorts, etc)
Represent the club in open races organised under the rules of bodies such as Cycling Time Trials, TLI Cycling, LVRC and British Cycling (you may have to pay a licence fee to the relevant organisation), and
Attend our Annual General Meeting to have a say in the way the club is run.
If you want to race for another cycling club, you can still join us a second claim member. If you don’t ride a bike, you can join as a social member.
What does it cost to join?
If you are aged 23 or over, membership is £15 a year. If you are under 23, it’s free.
Our membership year is January to December. If you join before 1 July, you still pay £15 for membership until 31 December. If you join after 30 June, you get membership for next year as well, for no extra money.
If you are aged 12 or over and want to join any of our rides, you’ll need to have and maintain third party insurance. We can arrange this for you when you join as a new member (in association with Cycling UK).
Do I get discounts in bike shops?
The following businesses kindly give discounts to club members.
Ride + Repair, Macclesfield - 10% off all repairs and servicing.
Rick Green Cycles, Handforth - 10% off manufacturer’s published prices.
Evans Cycles, Macclesfield - 10% off shop prices (not in addition to other promotions eg trade-in).
Cycle Centre, Congleton - take your membership card and ask.
Do I need a road bike?
There's a regular mountain bike ride every Saturday but most of our rides are on the road and on the faster rides everyone will be on a road bike. But we've seen plenty of people enjoy our easier rides on hybrid bikes.
Do I need mudguards?
We strongly recommend fitting mudguards when the skies or roads are wet. You’ll be drier, cleaner and healthier on your rides, and so will we. If you join a ride in the wet without mudguards, please expect to ride at the back so you share your spray only with others that don't have mudguards. If you want advice on mudguards, just ask other club members: we all have the same need and love to share solutions on rides.
Does it matter that I only have a cheap bike?
We're not the kind of club where people boast about their expensive bikes. You definitely don't need a posh bike to join us. More expensive bikes benefit from being lighter, so they're easier to ride uphill, but ultimately it doesn't matter how expensive a bike is, as long as it's well maintained.
Will I be able to keep up?
Most of us worried about this before our first ride with a club. Our Rides page lists all our rides in order of the fitness you’ll need. Speeds start at ‘leisurely’.
If you have only ever ridden by yourself, you’ll find that it is always easier when you are riding in a group, and you may be surprised how easy the miles pass when you are chatting away.
Is everyone else fast? What if I'm struggling?
Not everyone is fast, and we're not the kind of club where everyone tries to impress each other with speed. If you start to struggle, don't worry, we've all been there, and someone will ride with you to ensure you're OK. We won't leave you in the middle of nowhere.
Where do you ride as I don't like riding near cars or on busy roads?
Neither do we. As far as possible, we ride on quiet minor roads and lanes, away from the traffic.
Are there many women in the Wheelers?
We’re delighted that there are now more than 60 women in the club - an all-time high. We’ve appointed a Women’s Ambassador and you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you ride close together?
Riding ‘on someone's wheel’ gives you the benefit of slipstream and can save you as much as 15-40% of your energy, depending on the speed and size of the group. Riding close together enables all the riders to maintain a higher average speed than any one rider could on their own.
Riding close together can take a bit of getting used to if you're new to riding in a group. However, there's no need to be daunted. If you're a bit uncertain, it's best to start at the back of the group where you don't have to worry about riders behind you. From there you'll soon learn about group riding and increase your confidence.
Here’s a video explaining the basics of group riding, including key “do’s and don’ts”
And here’s another explaining some of the most common hand signals used to warn of hazards and communicate within the group
Any suggestions if I'm not fit enough to come out with you yet?
If you believe that you're not fit enough yet to come out with us, we hope we can still offer you something.
For example, every ride other than the training rides, goes to a predetermined café and, if you wanted to, you could make your own way there at your own pace, meeting us for a slice of cake and some tea. Just let us know that you'll be there so we can look out for you.
We may be able to arrange for one of us to meet up with you for an initial ride and help you decide which club ride would suit you best. If you stick at it and ride regularly, it won't be long before you'll wonder what you were worried about.
Do I have to wear lycra?
No, although many riders find lycra more comfortable (particularly between them and the saddle). The materials used in cycling clothing tend to breathe well, reducing discomfort from sweating, and don't flap around in the wind. There's now a wide range of kit available for cycling so look for something that you find comfortable and are happy to wear. Remember to keep warm, especially in the winter (it's better to be too warm than too cold).
Can you tell me how to fix my bike?
One of the benefits of joining a cycling club is that there are plenty of people to help you diagnose that mysterious squeak or give you tips about repairs and maintenance.
Can you give me any advice about buying a bike?
Yes, please ask us. Most of us have experiences of various bikes and equipment and will be only too happy to advise you what to buy, and what to avoid. We've made the mistakes, so there's no need for you to copy them.
Are there any triathletes in the club?
We’re proud to have several triathletes in the club, with more women than men currently competing (across all distances, up to Full Ironman). And we have several more members who run as well as cycle.
If you’re a triathlete for whom cycling isn’t your first discipline, you’ll find joining a cycling club should really help. There are many aspects of cycling technique that can be improved with practice, or learned from experienced riders, such as riding position, pedaling style, cornering, hill-climbing techniques and best use of gearing.
I like riding Sportives; will joining a cycling club help?
Definitely! While the club doesn't organise Sportives, many members ride them. Joining us will help improve your cycling technique, such as riding position, pedalling style, cornering, hill-climbing techniques and best use of gearing, as well as your confidence at riding in a group.
Do I have to race?
No! Although the Wheelers have a strong racing heritage with national and international champions within our ranks, we are definitely not purely a racing club. Many of our members have never raced and have no intention of ever doing so, while others with a racing background are now content to take things more slowly. If you join the Wheelers, you'll find a huge depth of cycling experience of all branches of the sport going back over many years.
Do I have to help out at events?
We depend on volunteers to enable us to promote races and other activities and, if you join us, we'll encourage you to help in whatever way you can, perhaps by marshalling at a race (don't worry we'll explain what to do) or pouring cups of tea at the race HQ. We like all members to volunteer for at least one event a year if possible, but of course there's no maximum.
How do you keep in touch with members?
The calendar on this website lists all our events including regular rides, specials, time trials and races. We also announce most of these on both our Facebook pages (one public and one for members only) and on our Twitter feed @FoolsNook. If you join us, we'll also contact you by email.
If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We're looking forward to meeting you.
The easiest way to join is online. Just click the button below.
You can pay through PayPal even if you don’t have a PayPal account as PayPal accepts card payments.
If you want to apply for someone aged under 18, please use the paper application form. That's because we need to see and keep the declaration signed by their parent or guardian.
If you’re already a member, login here to:
renew your membership
update your details, and
buy event tickets.
Before you come out with us please read either or both of these, as appropriate: