Spring has sprung, the clocks have leapt forward by an hour, you've polished off your best wheels and the UK being blown and soaked by a storm called Katie. It's time to start the chaingang again.
During British Summer Time, VC York hosts the best group training rides in the area with its twice weekly evening chaingangs which leave from the B&Q deliveries entrance on Osbaldwick Link Road, 6pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It's a close, fast group ride that will not only boost your strength and speed but your road craft too.
Last year, owing to the ride's increased popularity, we were able to split the ride into a number of smaller groups, the first on the road being the fastest and containing some of York's finest racing talent, followed by one or two more groups catering for a wider range of strengths and speeds. This year we plan to do the same, keeping the group sizes to a maximum of around twelve riders (for reasons of both safety and efficiency).
These rides are training rides and will be hard no matter which group you're in. The difference in average speed between first and second groups last year was often not much more than 1mph. There is no place for ego here (with the exception of Jamie "The Champ" Sharp, who has been granted a special ego exemption, of course). Please choose the group that you will be best able to enjoy a full and rounded training ride. Be honest with yourself. If you're in the wrong group it's rarely good training and it can be dangerous.
Remember that these are group rides. You'll be riding faster and in closer quarters than regular training rides. Listen to the people around you. Communicate and be courteous. Point out road hazards early and if someone tells you you're doing something wrong or gives advice, don't take offence - they're doing it for you and for the good of the group.
If you're not used to riding in a large group, it's worth watching some of the GCN instructional videos on the subject.
Also check out:
- How to ride in a group (YouTube)
- How to ride in a group - Group riding etiquette (YouTube)
- How to ride like the pros - Double pace line (YouTube)
The routes are the same as last year. Average speeds range between 19-23mph over a couple of hours depending on the group. Both Tuesday and Thursday rides depart at 6pm from B&Q's delivery entrance on Osbaldwick Link Road.
Tuesday's route takes in Sheriff Hutton and Easingwold over slightly rolling terrain, and returns to York past Benningborough Hall and Tollerton.
- View Tuesday's chaingang route
- Download a .TCX of Tuesday's chaingang route
- Download a .GPX of Tuesday's chaingang route
Thursday's route is pan-flat, heading East to Pocklington and back via Elvington, which has apparently been at least partially resurfaced, which will I'm sure come as a relief to anyone who's ridden it before.
- View Thursday's chaingang route
- Download a .TCX of Thursday's route
- Download a .GPX of Thursday's route
One final point of order - Could we please be courteous not only to other riders but to those who live and work in and around the places we ride. Not only does this include cyclists, pedestrians and drivers, but also those who live and work near the start point in Osbaldwick. Please don't use the B&Q entrance as a public convenience as was noted last year. Empty your bladder before you leave the house.