Health & Fitness
•Hersam Acorn Newspapers• •
January 31, 2013
Club welcomes riders of all levels, interests
By Janis Gibson
The number, and variety, of cyclists seenriding along the sides of roads has increaseddramatically over the last decade, and wheth-er you want to get on a bike for the first timein years, get out of the spin class and ontothe road, engage in new challenges or makesome new friends who also enjoy the sport,there is a place for you in the Sound CyclistsBicycling Club.Established in 1977 and currently standingat about 1,800 members, SCBC schedulesa variety of rides and activities year-round,posted on its website; only snow and severeweather keep some of its members off theroad. And as the weather gets warmer andthe days longer, the number of ride opportu-nities rises, with offerings seven days a week.“We are an exercise and social club thatoffers organized rides at various levels, forthose just getting back on a bike to thosesolo riders who do 30-40 miles at a clip,”Club President Geoff Preu said. “We canaccommodate most anyone who comes andour membership spans from teens to peoplein their 80s, with the bulk of our member-ship people in their forties through sixties.”The club’s recently revamped website,soundcyclists.com, displays the group’s mis-sion statement: “Sound Cyclist Bicycle Clubprovides organized rides and other cycling-related activities for our members and thecommunity, which stress safety, fun and fit-ness for all levels of riders. We host socialactivities and the Bloomin’ Metric, one of theNortheast’s premier cycling events. The clubalso provides the opportunity for cyclists toimprove their riding skills. The club is anadvocate of safe cycling in Fairfield Countyand the State of Connecticut.” All cyclists are required to wear ANSI-,SNELL- or CPSC-approved helmets duringany club ride.Rides are segregated by pace, distance andterrain. Riders place themselves, dependingon their experience and skill, and what theymay want to accomplish on a given day. Theclub regularly offers skill clinics, either aspart of a larger ride or standalone, coveringsuch topics as shifting and bike handlingfor newbies, riding in a group, hill climbingand pace-lining or riding tightly single file,drafting off each other, which can increase arider’s efficiency up to 30 percent.Each ride has a leader and at the lowerlevels, each has a sweep, or a person desig-nated to ensure no rider gets separated fromthe group. SCBC also offers training for rideleaders, some of whom are very active, oth-ers who lead occasional or specific rides, andmaintains a library of some 300 rides thatcan be printed out as cue sheets detailing theroute or downloaded to GPS. While most rides take place in FairfieldCounty and start along the coastal towns,there are also annual destination rides onBlock Island to West Point, in LitchfieldCounty, around Tanglewood and other loca-tions, as well as picnics in May and Julypreceded by all-club rides. And for thosewho want to start more up-county, RidgefieldBicycle Company, recently relocated to 88Danbury Road, has a couple of rides a week,in cooperation with Sound Cyclists, as wellas sponsors its own bicycle sport club.Mountain bike trail rides and touring ridesare also on the schedule.Membership to the Sound Cyclists costs$20 annually, with a $5 sur-charge if madeby regular mail rather than online, and peo-ple can try a couple of rides before decidingto join. A typical ride may have from six to20 participants.
The Bloomin’ Metric
Sound Cyclists premiere event and majorfund-raiser is the Bloomin’ Metric, an annualouting that is held when the azalea and dog-woods are in bloom. The Metric offers ridersa choice of three distances — 25 miles, 75kilometers (47.6 miles) or 100 kilometers(62.1 miles) — with food and rest stops andsupport and gear wagons along the way. Thisyear’s event will be held the first Sunday in June. While the 25-mile distance may soundintimidating to someone contemplating theride for the first time, it can be an excellentopportunity to challenge yourself in a safeand supportive environment, riding at yourown pace and resting when needed, accord-
Club members participating in the West Point ride.
See Riders on page 5
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