I'm thinking of signing up to an introductory ride soon but my only bike is a 6-speed Brompton. I'm curious, do any members (or prospective members) go out to rides with small-wheeled bikes or even folding bikes? Would you advise against it?
I'm by no means an experienced cyclist, having never joined a cycle club before and just recently started to do longer rides beyond my daily commute. I have no interest in racing, simply enjoy improving my fitness and cycle skills, and riding in groups to beautiful places.
I have a Dahon, with 20" wheels, that I have used on a few evening club rides.
This was the bike I was using when I started to ride more, and, before joining ICC, I'd ridden it around Richmond Park on quite a few occasions (and a little further). Later, for novelty, I tried out a solo ride on ICC's NLH route, and a few evening rides when my other bike was damaged.
I did notice the difference.
The bike is, I think, marginally heavier than the 13kg tourer that I normally use, and which, itself, can probably be considered a heavy choice. I think that a 6-speed Brompton will be similarly heavier than most (basic) road bikes used by ICC members.
The larger issue was position and, I think, some more resistance to motion. I found climbing a lot harder. More effort was required in order keep up with others.
For regular club rides, I'd not consider my folder a good choice. While some ICC rides can be quite gentle, our less brisk groups can still move along at a pretty good pace (12-14mph average moving speed).
I'd suggest that, unless one is quite strong, or, at least, very familiar with club ride pace & distance, it's a good idea to make rides easier rather than harder. For initial rides, it is probably wise to be careful with choices of bike, shoes/clothing, and food & drink.
A good alternative is to come along to a Regent's Park group skills session, or possibly to meet people at the Cafe after Saturday morning laps, and get a feel for some of the riding (though laps are not so representative of Sunday rides).
It’s very rare for someone to do a club ride on anything other than a drop bar road bike. You do see the occasional flat bar road bike/hybrid but that’s as exotic as it gets. I have a very well-travelled 6 speed Brompton and have never done a club ride on it (though I have done the 200 km Great Escape on it).
I think you might be ok on the Intro ride, but only if you can keep up with the group and only if you intended to switch to a road bike in due course.
I say that because club rides work best when everyone rides in a tight group at a well matched pace and I think having a bike of such a different shape and with different speed characteristics makes that much harder.
(If you want to do longer/social rides on your Brompton, can I point you towards London Brompton Club on Facebook)
I have a 3-speed Brompton. Never done a club ride on it nor would I want to. I agree with everything Graham says.
Like the London Brompton Club, there's also CTC London. I've seen photos on Strava of their rides and it's not unsual to see a Brompton. Mind you, they do go a lot slower, down to 11-13 mph.
I ride an Airnimal chameleon ultra as my commuter. I'm thinking of trying the fixie loop with it or laps in good weather.
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