What our cycling group is about ...
Our VOA cycle group is an active mature group of people who love to share the joy of recreational cycling while leading healthy & active lives. We welcome like-minded people with similar interests and aim for members to enjoy themselves while experiencing new routes & adventures together. Our regular season goes from the first weekend in April to the end of October and over the cooler months we offer ad-hoc last minute rides based on good weather. During our season we have weekly rides throughout the Lower Mainland & occasionally Vancouver Island. During the summer months we explore further with overnight trips throughout BC (including Gulf Islands, Shuswap, Okanagan & Vancouver Island), WA State, and Oregon occasionally venturing further afield to Montana or Idaho. In order for riders to be accepted on overnight trips the criteria is based on experience & knowledge; not necessarily on a first come basis. We also have occasional international trips with some previous destinations being Amsterdam, Croatia, England, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Vietnam. Our leaders are experienced and knowledgeable on routes & roads; please feel free to always ask if you have any questions or concerns as everyone is thrilled to share their experiences.
Riding confidently and predictably in traffic sends the message that you belong on the road. Basic bike handling skills will also enhance your efficiency, making your ride more enjoyable. The most important element of our rides is that we all love to have fun!
We offer multi-level rides with various difficultly levels and our rides can be anywhere from 50-80 kms per day. The expectation of new riders is that you are able to ride a minimum of 50 kms at a speed of 18-20 kms p/h comfortably on a flat road. Please read our cycling level chart in the bulletin and be honest with your personal fitness level before signing up for a ride. Our rides are generally on paved roads; however occasionally can go on gravel trails to get from point A to point B. Most of our riders ride either steel touring bikes, hybrids or eBikes. Road bikes are welcome but would need to be cautious if there was a ride on a gravel trail. We start our spring season with easier shorter rides and grow our routes are the season progresses. Respect the rules of the road.
Our club rules are few but are important:
- All riders are required to wear a helmet
- Be on time. All riders are expected to arrive early enough at the start location to have wheels turning at the departure time
- Always signal your intentions
- When riding in a group and want to pass another cyclist please advise you are doing so and always pass on the LEFT
- We never leave our people! If there is a mechanical issue we always support one another. As such all riders are expected to have a spare tube on each ride they attend, at the very least
- We strongly recommend a mirror and for some Tours/Trips they are required
- When riding on busy roads riders need to ride single file for safety
- Always yield to pedestrians
Our Cycling Etiquette
Safety is Paramount
Safety starts with the first cycle up and continues right up to the end of the trip - whether it be a day trip or an overnight adventure. Safety includes watching and being aware of all hazards including oncoming cars or pedestrians. When you ride with a 'buddy' it's not the same experience as riding in a group. There is so much more to be aware of; IE people around you. Safety also includes staying away from cars during a stop in our cycling route, which means not stopping on roads and/or blocking bike routes and obstructing traffic, whether it be a car or another cyclist. Our goal is to complete our cycle adventure safety for everyone’s enjoyment.
Be on Time
We start on time at the beginning of our trip and after our breaks. We will give short notices before restarting our cycling after a break. That means being fully prepared to depart at the time given by the cycle trip leader. To clarify, our start time is wheels on the road not on arrival at the parking lot.
Equipment in Good Repair
Bikes are expected to be in good repair. All bikes must be prepared to pass a brief inspection at the start of any trip. Any bikes in obvious disrepair will not be permitted on the trip. On an overnight trip this could mean being turned back regardless of personal circumstances and with no refunds being provided as a bike in poor repair can be a significant hardship to the group in remote areas. The onus is on you to ensure your bike is ready to go and you are prepared for normal wear and tear (i.e. flat tires). We will always assist in extraordinary repairs and support and never leave our riders alone.
Always be Courteous
Respectful behaviour towards others in the group and anyone we encounter on our cycle route is an expectation. Remember that we are all ambassadors for the Valley Outdoor Club.
We encourage all riders to RIDE SMART
Act safety and predictably
Respect the rules of the road
Electric-assist bikes (eBikes) provide new opportunities to enjoy the benefits of riding. The growing availability and improved technology of E-assist Bikes is reflected in the demand as eBike sales are up more than 450% since 2013. People with e-Bikes are expected to integrate with regular bikes. If you're on a ride with an e-Bike be aware of those on regular bikes are working hard peddling with no support and adjust your speed accordingly. We welcome e-Bikes & riders but please note that we require additional insurance in order to join our VOA riders, due to the limitations of our VOA/FMCBC insurance policy which doesn't cover e-Bikes, as of yet.
If you wish to join our rides with an e-Bike please read the E-Bike Guidelines or contact our Cycle Coordinator (listed in the bulletin) for further information before you plan to join us on a ride.