New Members

When we meet
When: Every Sunday Morning.
Start Time: 9:00am Apr-Oct 9:30am Nov-Mar
Where: Our start point rotates every month.
- Cahir (Gleeson Tyres) Jan Apr Jul Oct
- Ardfinnan (Opp Community Center) Feb May Aug Nov
- Clogheen (Opp Community Center) Mar Jun Sept Dec
We often also hold Club Cycles in the evenings midweek. Please contact a member of the club for details if you wish to attend.

So you are interested in starting Cycling and joining a Cycling Club.  We are the South Tipperary Cycling Club and I will give you some information that you may find useful in starting out (some of which I wish someone told me before I decided to start spending money). Links to the registration forms can be found at the bottom of this page.

First things first. No Helmet no Ride.  Helmets may not be required under the law but they are required by our club. 

Our club meet for a cycle every Sunday morning.  The meeting place alternates between Clogheen, Ardfinnan and Cahir every month.  Please check the schedule on our blog to see where we are currently meeting.

There are three groups and three routes 30K, 50K+ and 100K.  The 30K is for beginners and normally people move on very quickly to the 50K+. Some even slot straight into the 50K+ depending on how strong they feel on the bike.  The 50K group is a leisurely group where we average around 25kph and the climbs aren't too bad.  Also as the year goes on we often push up to 60k, 70k and beyond by adding an extra loop to the planned route. The 100K group is a bigger step up with speed closer to 30kph, riding in formation and a lot more climbs.  A lot of the 50K group can do these longer distances but it is generally the speed of the 100K group that takes time to get used to.  Some people are happy at the slower pace and that’s fine. No one will force you up to the faster group unless you want to join them.  Basically whatever you want to get out of cycling one of our groups should cover it.

When the evenings are long enough there are also organized cycles a couple of evenings midweek.  These groups generally depart from Gleeson Tyres in Cahir.  Check with a member of the club for more info on that.  During the winter the club hosts Turbo Training sessions midweek in a local hall (either Duhill or Clogheen).  These are like spinning classes but you use your own bike which is set up on a "Turbo Trainer".  Every three weeks or so in the winter the club also plan to go to Ballyhoura for mountain biking.

We also regularly take part in charity cycles or "sportives".  They can vary from local 45K routes right up to the Ring of Kerry 180K or the Tour of Munster 3 day event.  Many of these happen on Sundays so on days when there is a local event we may not have an organized club cycle at our regular meeting point.  Check the blog to see where we are meeting the weekend you want to join us.  If in doubt phone a member of the club (see the committee page).  There are also some competitive events and if you were looking to go to any of those events the club will help you get organized for this.

New members can come out for two Sunday cycles without joining.  After that for insurance reasons they must join the club and also take out a Cycling Ireland licence.  There is also reductions for family memberships.

We have club gear which we order maybe once or twice a year depending on demand but there is no compulsion to buy it. 

If you are a new cyclist you may well be looking at getting a bike on the bike to work scheme.  If you are planning on joining a club and cycling on the road then get a road bike.  The most common mistake new members make is get a hybrid bike (between a mountain bike and a road bike).  They are good bikes but they are not as suited to road cycling as a proper road bike.  I made that mistake and bought a hybrid on the bike to work scheme. 3 months later I had to trade it in for a road bike.  Road bikes look scary but they are not once you actually cycle them. 

If you are using the bike to work scheme you can spend up to €1000 and claim back up to 52% in tax.  You have to go to a bike shop such as our sponsors "Roches Cycles" in Mitchelstown or "World Wide Cycles" in Clonmel to avail of the Bike to Work Scheme. For a beginner I would say aim to spend around €750-800 on the bike and then use the rest of the €200 on a helmet, padded bib shorts and jacket.  Those are elements that are worth spending a bit extra to get good quality.  Make sure it is Bib shorts that you get not just padded shorts. They act like suspenders and pull up around your shoulders which keeps your back covered and warm when you are bent over on the bike.  Ask the shop to throw in a bottle & cage, mini-pump, spare tube or possibly a saddle bag.  They often will include some of that stuff especially if you are spending the full €1000. 

A lock is also worth spending money on if you plan to cycle to work or leave the bike out unattended in public.  Cheap locks are easy to break/cut.  But expensive locks also tend to be heavy and cumbersome.  A good quality expensive lock you can leave at home most days but clip onto the frame for days you know the bike will be unattended and a small cable lock in the saddlebag to act as a “take the one beside me” deterrant might be a good combination.  You will know best depending on the cycling you want to do.

You can often pick up jerseys, gloves, lights, bike computers, base layers and glasses in Lidl/Aldi which are fine for what you need as a beginner and not worth wasting the tax benefit on more expensive ones.  People often criticize the quality of this cheap stuff and certainly you get what you pay for (low price low quality).  But as a beginner this stuff is fine and you can upgrade once you know better what you need.  It also spreads the cost a little and overtime you can get better quality stuff from dedicated bike shops like "Roches Cycles" or "World Wide Cycles".  You could easily spend thousands getting kitted out at the start as you impulse buy lots of stuff that will later sit in your wardrobe.  Once you know what you use you can focus your spending on quality stuff you will use.  There are also many websites that sell cycling gear.

Runners will get you started on the standard pedals and if you decide to move on to clip in pedals you will get cycling shoes from a bike shop. 
So what should you carry with you on a club cycle.  Firstly as I said earlier no helmet no ride. That is the only compulsory element. Many helmets come with stickers you can put on the inside with emergency contact info.  Fill it in and stick it inside the helmet.  Hopefully it will never be needed but better safe than sorry. 

Beyond the helmet you should carry/bring some other things.  Dress appropriate to the weather conditions.  Don’t wear something that will cause you to over heat but don’t wear something that will cause you to freeze.  Remember you are going to exercise not on a nice gentle stroll.  You will get hot quite quickly if you are wearing a heavy jacket and several layers. But likewise on a frosty morning a pair of shorts and a short sleeve jersey will cause you to have one of the most miserable experiences of your life.  

A light foldup rain jacket you can hold in the back pocket of your jersey is always a good idea in an unpredictable climate like Ireland.  Even if the sky is blue when you leave it could be raining in half an hour.  Plus if you get a breakdown you can't repair and have to stop in an isolated place waiting for a lift you could get cold very quickly. The foldup jacket will help a bit in that case.

Bring at least one bottle of water (the type you store on the frame in a “Cage”).  Some people like to mix an isotonic solution into that. Do what suits you in terms of the type of solution but you must bring something to drink.  Bring a spare tube, pump, and tire levers.  Your club mates will help you change a flat but you should google how to change a tube if you get a puncture just in case it happens if you are on your own.  Bring a banana or small bar/slice of cake for the half way stop (there always is one).  Bring some money in case you decide to stop for a coffee etc.  Bring your phone (wrapped in two ziplock bags should keep it dry in most conditions).  That’s about the minimum you need (some would say the maximum).  That’s a lot of stuff to get into your back pockets. So I would say get a saddle bag. You can cram lots into that with a little practice.  A few people use backpacks but they can be quite hot on your back so they are not for everyone.  Just remember you don’t need to bring that much. You are not going to the Sahara desert you are going a few miles down the road.  Just enough to bring you home or get you collected.

Hope that helps.  You will get more info at

You will also need to join Cycling Ireland for insurance etc.  You can find more details at:

No comments:

Post a Comment