Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some frequently asked questions about the BBC (Blair Bicycle Club) and our rides. If you don't find the answer to your question, don't worry - just ask us! We've all been there and we know what it's like to be at your first group ride. Plus, if you're interested in joining our club, we want to give you a warm welcome!


Membership

Why should I become a member?

Members are covered by liability insurance and some medical insurance when riding with the club. The club ride leaders pull together some great rides using roads that are the safest, provide good rest room breaks and introduce you to ride routes that you may never find on your own. Organized social events and trips occur throughout the year. The club supplies food and beverages on several special rides.

How much are the dues?

Each year, dues are $20 for anindividual and $32 for a Family. Dues are discounted if they are paid by April 30th to $15 for an individual and $25 for a family.

Rides

What kind of bike do I need for the rides?

We recommend using a road bike for our road rides, and a mountain bike for our mountain bike rides. The important thing is that you have a bike that allows you to keep up with the advertised pace of the ride. So if you show up to the slower road rides with a mountain bike, that's ok as long as you can keep up with everyone else.

Can I use my mountain bike? Do I need to get a road bike?

If you really want to, yes you can use your mountain bike. But you'll have so much more fun if you use the correct bike for the type of riding that you're doing. Many people start out on a mountain bike, but then go to a road bike after someone offers to let them try their bike. There are some good deals on entry level road bikes and you can often find someone who is selling their bike.

In general, you're welcome to use any kind of bike that can keep up, is in good mechanical condition, and is safe. If there's ever any question about a bike, the ride leader has the final authority in determining if you can ride in the ride.

What about riding a tandem bike?

Tandem bikes are definitely welcome. We'll just have to catch up with you at the bottom of the hills.

How long and fast are the rides?

We have rides of different distances and speeds. We try to rate our rides using a ride classification system that indicates the average speed, the terrain, and the distance. See Ride Classifications (pdf).

What do I do if I get a flat tire?

First yell "Flat Tire" so that everyone knows to stop. We don't want you to get left behind by yourself. We hope that you carry a patch kit and either a tire inflator or pump so that you can fix your tire and continue on your way. On most rides, the group will wait for you, or one or more people will wait for you until you have fixed your tire. If you don't know how to fix a flat, just ask and someone is likely to offer to fix it for you. Just watch them so that you can do it next time. We do occasionally have training sessions on how to fix things like flat tires.

One other thing, make sure that you find a good place to fix your flat. Don't stop in the middle of Poison Ivy. Don't know what Poison Ivy looks like? See more at Poison-Ivy.org.

What should I do if I can't keep up with the group?

Our slower rides usually have a sweep person. That's someone who will make sure that you don't get dropped from the group. If you find that you can't keep up, then do the best that you can. If necessary you might need to drop out of the ride. (See the answer to that question). If you can't keep up because you went on a ride that was too fast for you, then try to pick rides that are more within your pace. If you can't keep up because the ride is faster than what was advertised, then you definitely have the right to complain to the ride leader or ask the other riders to slow down. Often there will be some people who ride faster and they go ahead, but usually when this happens the group picks a "regrouping" point where people will wait for the group to get back together.

What should I do if I need to leave a ride in the middle of it?

If you need to leave a ride in the middle, please let the ride leader or the sweep person know that you're leaving. We try to keep a count of the riders and make sure that people don't get lost.

What do I need to know about riding in a group?

Riding in a group is fun because of the social aspect of riding with others. But there are some etiquette rules that you should know about. First you need to wear a helmet and make sure that you bike is in good working condition. Other group riders don't want to constantly be performing maintenance on your bike. Plus it's a hazard to other riders if your bike doesn't work right.

Club policy requires you to wear a helmet on any club rides. If you don't have a helmet then you can't ride with the group. We expect you to abide by the Rules of the Road. (See the question below).

We expect you to call out if a car is behind or ahead. "Car Back" or "Car Up". When going through intersections, alert others if the way is "Clear" or if there's a "Car Right" or "Car Left". Alert others if there are road hazards such as "Shale" or "Gravel" and point out glass and potholes. The best way to learn about these things is to watch other riders. Other riders in the group will appreciate your thoughtfulness in pointing these things out.

On many group rides the Signposting Rule will be in effect. This is a way to ensure that none of the riders get dropped. The ride leader will announce at the start of the ride if this rule is in effect. Make sure that you are familiar with how it works. If you're not sure, ask someone. See more about the Signposting Rule (pdf).

What are the Rules of the Road?

Assuming that you've gotten this far, and you're now leaving the parking lot and entering the road, you need to follow the rules of the road. Specifically this is the laws governing the operation of bicycles on the road. Pennsylvania law says that if you're operating a bicycle, then you're operating a vehicle. With the same rights and responsibilities as any other vehicle. This means that you ride on the right side of the road, use hand signals to communicate your intentions, and stay as far to the right as practical. Although PA law allows you to ride two abreast, it is usually a good idea to be courteous to other drivers to go single file when a car is behind you and wants to pass. In general, the more you behave like a car, the safer and predictable you are to other car drivers.

These can be found on Penn Dot's site:


What should I know about pacelines and drafting?

A paceline is when a group of riders go in a single or multiple file. Each person tries to stay as close as possible to the person in front of them. Drafting is another word for this and it is simply when you go close enough to the person in front of you that it becomes easier for you to ride. The person in front is shielding you from the wind. If you're a beginner you might not feel very comfortable about riding right behind another person so close. That's fine, you can keep more of a distance until you become more experienced. The important thing about riding in a paceline or if you're in front of someone is to not make sudden changes in speed. If you have to slow down either use the hand signal that you're slowing, or call out "Slowing" or "Stopping". If you're riding behind someone, try not to focus on their wheel. Try to look ahead of them to see what is coming up. This is when it becomes important to point out road hazards for the person behind you.
See more about Pacelines (pdf).


What should I bring with me to a ride?

Unless you're a camel, you probably will need to bring water, especially if the weather is hot. You should also have a patch kit and/or a spare inner tube, and either a tire inflator or pump. Just about everyone will have a flat tire one day. Make sure you bring a helmet, otherwise you won't be allowed to ride with the group. Also make sure that you bike is in good working condition. We suggest that you try to arrive 10 minutes before the ride time as the time that is announced is the time that the ride will leave. You need to be ready to go at that time.

I'm running late in getting to the ride. Will they wait for me?

They might, if you've told someone, but don't count on it. The times that are announced for the rides are the time that the ride leaves the starting point. The best thing is to try to plan ahead so that you arrive 10 minutes before the ride starts so you have time to get ready.

Can I bring my children along on a ride?

Most of our rides go at a pace that is too fast for young children. So we don't recommend that you bring them to club rides unless the ride is specifically advertised as being a family ride or you child is old enough to keep up with the group and understand the rules of the road. All children under 14 must be accompanied by a responsible adult and any rider under 18 must have the waiver of liability form signed by a parent or guardian.

Where can I find additional information about biking?

We also recommend having a look at the recreational bicycle entries on FAQs.org. They have a nice selection of biking information. See more information from FAQs.org.