If you are new to the Club, it is best to ride with the Skills Group.
The skills rides are on Saturday mornings, starting at the same time and location as the regular club rides. The Skills Rides start at the D’Ornellas Bike Shop, there is a secondary meeting spot at 14th Avenue in Markham (see Ride Starting Points for details ) For your first ride it is best to start at the bike shop on Lawrence Avenue. On future rides you can join the Skills Ride at 14th Avenue in Markham. The Skills Ride will teach you the basic fundamentals of riding in a group. You will learn how to interact with other riders in a safe environment. If you have never been on a double pace line ride, you must do the Skills Ride. Cycling is a safe sport if done correctly. Some members never leave this group as they are comfortable with the speed and distance. Only you will know if you are ready to move to the next level.

At some time you may get dropped. Don’t worry, it has happened to all of us.
Once you move from the Skills Ride to the regular rides, you may not know what to expect. You won’t know where the hills are. You won’t know where the ride picks up speed. It is not uncommon to get dropped, or in other words, to fall off the back of the pack and get left behind. (The skills ride won’t drop you or leave you alone.) With each ride, you will be able to stay with the group a little longer and before you know it, you will be riding at a pace you never imagined. If you are fatigued, let the ride leader know. If you find yourself in a group above your ability level, stay in the back; do not try to get to the front. [In fact even the most experienced cyclists can get dropped, they may be having a sluggish day, they may have joined a ride that is going faster than they are accoustomed or the hill may be too long and steep. Getting dropped is part of riding in a group.]

We all watch out for each other
Safety is our primary concern when riding in a group so at times other members may tell you to stop doing something. For example, when riding in a group, a big no-no is to turn around and look behind you. New riders don’t realize that by doing this, they risk turning their handle bar and going off course. On a group ride, this can cause a crash, which no one wants. So don’t feel bad if someone yells out “don’t turn around.” Remember that other cyclists are looking out for you as much as you are looking out for them. If someone does something unexpected, bad things can happen. Before you know it, the fundamentals become second nature and riding in a large pack is just another day on the bike. You must trust the person in front, beside and behind you as they are with the person in front, beside and behind them. We are looking out for one another. That is how we stay safe.

At some time you will get a flat tire.
Carry a spare tube and pump and a small tool kit on every ride. If you get a flat, the first thing to do if you’re in a group is yell FLAT. Then, hold your line, keep moving forward until the group gives you the space to slow down. DO NOT SUDDENLY STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK. On most rides there will be members who can help you change a flat but it is best to practice changing a flat at home. From time-to-time, the club puts on “How to” clinics, so do your best to attend. You can also ask a member to teach you or search the web for a how-to video. (Make sure to buy a good quality pump with a built in pressure gauge; pump your tires and check the pressure before every ride.)

On most of our rides where it is safe to do so, our club rides in a double pace line. If you have never participated in a double pace line group ride, you must attend our Skills Ride where we will teach you how to ride safely in a disciplined group. Anyone can learn how to do this and once you learn the basics and get comfortable, it is a great way to ride and enjoy your road bike.

Pace lines are those neat line of cyclists you see when watching the Tour de France and it’s a great way to cover a lot of distance fast, with much less energy expended by everyone in the group. The concept is that wind resistance is your enemy (as much as 40% of your energy is spent overcoming wind resistance) and by following someone close behind you can use less energy. Of course the person in front will be doing most of the work so you trade off turns at the front so that every one gets a break.

Is it safe? With practice, a pace line is relatively safe. You are more visible to cars when riding in a group. When riders are attentive and practiced, accidents are rare, but the efficiency of riding in a pace line comes at the cost of added risk. If the rider ahead of you (or behind you or on either side) does something unexpected, you could find yourself on the pavement in an instant. Don’t ride in a pace line unless you’re willing to assume these risks.

There are three basic rules to Pace line riding:
Don’t do anything suddenly!


All Saturday group rides start from D’Ornellas Bike Shop at Lawrence and Pharmacy.
You must be a registered club member before you can join any D’Ornellas Cycling Club group rides.
So, if you haven’t joined or renewed, now is the time to do so!


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