For over 20 years a group of road cyclists from New Albany, Granville, Westerville, Bexley and other neighboring towns would launch weekend rides from New Albany.
We’d make up the route during the ride, some people would get dropped, some people finished strong with the pack after 70 miles, more often than not in a sprint to Starbucks. Generally the atmosphere was friendly and at times could be extremely nurturing. We wanted more people on each ride. Strength in numbers.
With Cycling exploding in Central Ohio over the past 6 years… much of it driven by Pelotonia, the rider count launching from New Albany over the course of a weekend climbed into the high hundreds. Many of us were experiencing group rides with The Westerville Cycling Club, Columbus Outdoor Pursuits, or our Triathalon training groups. During the winter several of our friends would ride with the Swami’s club in Encinitas California… considered to be one of the best cycling clubs in America.
After a few beers and much discussion, a core group of us decided to form The Cycling Club. The club would host 2 or 3 organized rides a week between April and October. We deliberately avoided calling the club the “New Albany Cycling Club” because many of our best buddies live outside New Albany, and we aspire to be bigger than the city limits… we are about an attitude and an experience, that transcends location.
We would do our best to be like Swamis. We would put real emphasis into nurturing new riders. So while we may have “A” rides, and “B” rides for more accomplished riders, we needed a true commitment to the “club ride” to nurture new riders, and give riders an option that wouldn’t require being laid up on the couch all weekend recovering from the “A” ride.
As of January 2014 we have almost 100 registered members. We expect to have 500 members by November 2018. The best way to make this happen is to have a consistently good rider experience. That means the A and B rides will rival the Swamis or COP rides, and the CLUB rides will draw riders to the club, not scare them away.
Every ride will have a ride leader. Ride leaders will have the proper training, and will ensure they have a backup when they can’t make their ride. We expect A riders to play a key role on Club rides, nurturing new riders, encouraging and coaching developing riders. As riders move up to faster and longer rides they will know they can recover or just relax on Club rides.
We are just beginning this journey together as a club, but we have a long and rewarding road ahead of us.