Tips for Newcomers & Beginners

First, a quick Q & A:

Q:  Can I just show up at a TVC meeting or event, and join Membership there on the spot, right before a race?

A:  Yes you can.  Show up 30 minutes before the stat of the race to get ready. Club officers tend to carry blank Membership forms with them. You can fill them out, sign and pay right there, in cash or check. You can also print them at home and bring them with you, or mail them to us. By mail, we can only accept checks.

Q:  Can I go for a trial ride or a test race with you, before deciding if I want to join the club and pay my Membership fee?

A:  You can hang out with us, watch a race, chat with club members, and maybe even get an informal coaching lesson from someone… and please do feel free to do this as often as you like, until you reach a decision that feels right for you. But for liability reasons, we can only allow  TVC Members to ride with us on our Road Races and Time Trials.

Q:  I want to get out and ride on the road, but I’m new to this – where are safe places to practice riding on the street?

A:  Check out these locations:

The Vestal Rail-Trail isn’t a road, and there’s a 10mph speed limit, but it’s a good place to get comfortable on a road bike. Once you want to move out from there, these areas are great:

The Rail-Trail has two parts – many people don’t know about the western half. Park between Castle Gardens and Freihofer’s and you can access not only the quieter, more scenic 1.5 miles of rail trail, but also some very quiet neighborhood roads. This is the perfect place to start out. The neighborhoods are completely flat, but the two small rollers on the rail-trail are a great place to learn about climbing and shifting.

River Road in Endwell and the adjoining neighborhood (full of streets named for WWI battlefields) is a flat, quiet place to ride, with great views of the river. Park at the turnaround at the end of River Road, or else check with businesses on the Endwell side and see if they are OK with you parking there.

The Tri-Cities airport access road is a very lightly-used industrial road with good pavement, popular among runners and dog-walkers. It’s dead-flat, but often windy.

Glenwood Road in Vestal has some small but somewhat steep hills, and good scenery. Things get flatter and less heavily-traveled as you head south, so I suggest starting near town and riding out and back – it’s also a net downhill coming north back to Vestal, which is a good way to finish. Traffic is mostly slow (30mph speed limit), but it can get a little busy during commuting hours, especially on the north end. Weekends and evening tend to be very quiet.

Philadelphia Bike Race - flying off Lemon Hill - by joiseyshowaa - 700 pixels across

Please don’t be alarmed by the following statement, but do take it seriously:

Cycling can be a dangerous sport.

Each person rides at their own skill level, and there are riding skill sets that are picked up along the way. Over time, these skill sets build upon each other, transforming a complete beginner into a road racing master.

Pay attention:

When going down a hill at 30, 40 or even 50 mph we need to trust in the abilities of those around us. Group riding skills are important.

  • First, you have to behave in a predictable fashion on your bike.
  • Secondly, you must observe safety rules when out on the road.

Safety begins in your own garage by properly maintain your bicycle. It continues through learning how to share the road with cars and other cyclists.

Learn More:

Group Riding Rules

Bike Repair & Maintenance

Pace-lining Skills