The Chainlink

So I'm at a bit of a crossroads. My century training is ending soon through Chicago Endurance Sports and I have really grown to love the group ride/training aspect. I am trying to find a good fit to continue riding through the fall/winter/spring so I don't start from scratch again come March.

So I have 2 questions...

1. What group rides are out there for the beginning/intermediate rider? I'm looking for something in the 40+ miles @ 17-20 mph range. I've looked into Spidermonkeys (they're full), Half Acre, XXX, and Turin. I'm not sure that any of these are a good fit for the beginning/non-racer. Any experience riding with them?

2. Is there any type of network or group of local cyclists that throws together casual group rides. Something where I'd post "Hey I'd like to ride 30 miles this Thursday at 7pm leaving from ABC averaging XYZ mph"? And then people could find a ride that works with their schedule and skill level? I just figure there are plenty of us who wouldn't mind riding together, but is there a way to find them?

PS I wouldn't mind starting said network if there was interest...

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Hey Ryan,

Yeh I'm a member of CCC but the Monday night rides start too early and too far away from my work to get there...otherwise they'd be perfect for me.

Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:

The Chicago Cycling Club has a Monday night ride that 18-20mph and around 30 miles. It's a paceline training ride, but from what you've done, it sounds like you'd be comfortable with it.

Details and CCC ride schedule here.
The whole point of the XXX Saturday team ride is to get new people exposed to biking, bike racing, and riding with a team. That's why it's no-drop--and it really is no-drop. You shouldn't feel shy about yelling gap if you get gapped. Some of the best women on the team struggled on their first ride. No one is going to disparage you if you get gapped. The Saturday ride is open to everyone, even if you never have any intention to race. (And you just might find out you want to! Racing is a heck of a lot of fun.)

On the way back from Highland Park you're on your own, of course.

Besides, riding in a big group is way easier than riding by yourself--your average speed will be a lot higher than you think. You shouldn't be afraid to check out the XXX ride. Riding with a group is a great skill-builder as well.

Phil Szyjka said:
XXX is great for beginner to experienced skill level group rides. The Sat ride is a "no drop" from Pratt and Ridge at 7:30 to highland park by 8:45. From there riders of differing skill levels break off and go there separate ways. I usually do this ride every Sat. All members are very personable.
Evanston Bike Club (EBC) has a wide variety of rides. They also prefer longer rides, something where you stop for food halfway through.


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