The Rides We Do
Recreational, Not Racing
The RBC is essentially a road club dedicated to day touring on secluded, two-lane blacktop roads in the Rochester area, in the Finger Lakes and in the Southern Tier. Some of our rides may last only a couple of hours and other rides may take most of a day to complete. Our website, our calendar and our approximately 400 maps describe rides for any ability level imaginable. Cyclists under eighteen are welcome on RBC rides when accompanied by an adult.
Other types of rides that we do can be further understood by studying “How to Enjoy RBC Rides” elsewhere on this site.
Our program concentrates on fitness, friendship and fun. Other than the occasional friendly time trial, we do not sponsor racing events.
In contrast to the RBC and the racing clubs, the Huggers Ski Club has a cycling program that is dedicated to the social element of cycling.
Other events we sponsor -- instruction clinics, banquets, a media show -- supplement our program of road cycling and day touring.
There are several keys to cycling safely, and the most important one is to conduct yourself on a bicycle the same way that you would conduct yourself while operating a motor vehicle. New York State traffic law requires this of you, and if you are breaking the state traffic laws, you are also not cycling safely: You are incurring undue risks for yourself and for other traffic. The other traffic includes your fellow cyclists.
Membership in the RBC entitles you to one free paper copy of John S. Allen’s booklet “Bicycling Street Smarts,” which is also available free on-line.
The club’s Education Director organizes one or more Safety Clinics each season, and these are available free to all comers.
Club cyclists are expected to wear an approved helmet, but in order to be effective, the helmet must fit you, and it must be properly adjusted.
What to Bring with You on a Ride: Be Prepared
Cycling is an outdoor activity, not unlike hiking and canoeing, and with the mechanical aid of the bicycle, cyclists can find themselves far from home and either alone or with only a small group. Therefore, you need to plan for contingencies by having available enough water to sustain you between convenience stores and a small snack like an energy bar to ward off the bonk. Unless the ride is short and the weather forecast is perfect, bring one item of clothing that you don’t think you will need, such as a light windbreaker. You must carry the basic repair items: a spare inner tube, a set of tire levers and a pump. Even if you don’t know how to repair a flat tire, you still need these items so someone else can help you repair it. The club’s Education Director organizes several clinics each season that take the mystery out of all this.
If your hubs don’t have quick-release skewers, you need the type of wrench that will allow you to remove your wheels in case of a flat tire. It’s also a good idea to carry a set of allen keys, a spoke wrench and an chain tool.
Since they have access to the maps via the website, club members are expected to print a copy of the map and bring it to the ride. The Ride Leader will have two or three extra maps for non-members.
The RBC sponsors rides in a variety of categories, and these are discussed in more detail in “How to Enjoy RBC Rides.”
All of our rides are listed on the RBC calendar on Meetup . Ride listings show a start time, a map name and number, the distance in miles, the terrain, and the Ride Leader’s name and telephone number. You can also print the map or cue sheet for your use. You can also post questions or see additional comments about the ride on Meetup.
We Start on Time
The listed start time is when we plan to start riding, and RBC rides normally leave the start location within two or three minutes of this time.
Allow time to get to the start, and allow extra time, if you don’t know exactly where the start is. The Club is loath to leave new people at the start in order to maintain the discipline of starting on time, but since many riders are on a tight schedule, starting 5-15 minutes late is not fair to everyone, either.
Furthermore, the 15-30 minute period leading up to the actual time of leaving is important, because that’s when we meet new riders, get instructions from the Ride Leader, sign the ride log/waiver and catch up on what’s been happening with our usual crowd of riding partners. This pre-ride period is also a good time for new riders to learn by listening to the experienced members and by observing their bikes and gear.
Very often, upon arriving at the start location, the rider will discover a flat tire or other problem, and the time needed to affect the repair quickly eats up another 10-20 minutes.
Where We Ride
Most of our maps have been designed to favor roads with light traffic, but some roads used can be busy. Most rides are labeled with a terrain descriptor such as flat, moderate, small hills, hilly, or very hilly. Keep in mind that one person's moderate may be very hilly to someone else. If you don't have the time or ability to do the whole ride, most rides on the schedule can be shortened, and most of our maps suggest good places to shorten the ride. The Ride Leader will usually poll riders at the start, in an attempt to identify those who plan to shorten the ride, so they can ride together. If the Ride Leader does not do this, you should feel free to do it yourself.
With some exceptions, the Club does not rate rides by pace, so you can usually expect a broad range of riding speeds on any given ride, with riders breaking up into small groups based on ability and on their goals for the day. Some riders may ride hard for fifty miles without a break while others may ride easy for ten miles and then stop at a scenic overlook for twenty minutes or at a store or café for food, drink and conversation. If riding solo is not your goal, try to find others you can comfortably ride with or bring a friend. Ask the Ride Leader to help you identify others at the start location who might ride at your pace. If you know that there are others behind you trying to catch up, feel free to slow your pace.
The Ride Leader
At the start location, the Ride Leader will circulate a ride log/waiver for you to sign and offer maps to non-members who do not have access to the maps on-line. Pay close attention to the Ride Leader’s announcements at the start of the ride, because these can include information about expected traffic issues, detours for road conditions, updates on the changing weather, plans for food stops, points to regroup, or opportunities to extend or shorten the ride.
The Ride Leader may ride at the front, middle, or back of the group. Ride Leaders for some ride types such as those labeled Sweep and Slow-and-Easy have committed to ride at the back or with the slowest rider, however, for all RBC ride types, each rider is assumed to be on his own and the leader is not responsible for your safety or for the repair of your bike. Your safety is your responsibility.