Although mountain biking is increasingly popular, many of us still prefer to pedal on skinny tires.
For over 50 years, the Green Mountain Bicycle Club has offered cyclists the option of getting out on the road with friends. Most GMBC rides are on pavement, but lately the club has been adding gravel roads to the roster. The club’s mission is to promote cycling for fitness and friendship, encourage safe, courteous riding practices, organize weekly rides and competitive events, and advocate for cyclists at the state and local level.
With almost 300 members, the club offers a little bit for everybody, including introductory rides for new riders in the early part of the season. The most popular options are Sunday touring rides, which take place from April to October. Rides take place in Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle and Lamoille counties, as well as two-day trips to the Upper Valley and Northeast Kingdom.
One early season ride visits three Chittenden County covered bridges but that is topped by one later in the season that features almost a dozen of these historic gems in Franklin and Lamoille counties. A popular midseason ride in Washington County skips the bridges but offers views of three different waterfalls.
Each ride has a leader and sweeper and includes at least one designated rest stop. Riders generally regroup at major intersections to make sure nobody is left behind. Routes get longer and hillier as the summer progresses and the season culminates in a 100-mile ride in September. Many of the touring rides also feature a social ride component for those who prefer a more leisurely pace with longer breaks. And, for those itching to go a little faster and up a few more hills, there are Saturday training rides.
The club also hosts two weekly evening rides. Tuesday night rides, which start from several different locations, are geared solely for racers and can include 25-plus mph pace lines.
Wednesday night rides start from Veterans Memorial Park in South Burlington and follow the same 28-mile route every week.
Riders are divided into groups based on pace with the A group averaging over 22 mph and the C group between 15 and 17.
“Before our Wednesday rides, we review riding etiquette and elements of safe riding,” said club vice president John Williams. “Riders gain confidence, friends and fitness through participation in the Wednesday ride.”
The club also has something for those who want to test their skills against others. Every Thursday from May to September there are time trials where cyclists race the clock and each other. Courses range from 6 to 16 miles and include both flat routes and hill climbs. Stowe Bike Club is the only other local group holding similar events. Their time trial series is held every other Wednesday from May through August.
Itching to get out on the roads? Check out thegmbc.com and come for ride.