How do you attract casual bikers to a join a club ride?
We Bike Rochester has a pretty good formula for its Tuesday night casual rides.
First, each ride starts promptly from the same spot — 6 p.m. at Little Thistle Brewing Co., where there’s beer.
Second, the group rides at an easy pace.
Finally, it ends at the same spot — Little Thistle Brewing Co.
Where there’s beer.
Each week a group of about a dozen riders departs from the brewery for a there-and-back ride.
The pace is pretty casual — about 10 to 11 mph.
“How far do you want to go?” asked Ed Denbow, the We Bike Rochester club member who led the group July 23.
Some participants are casual riders. Jessica Joyce said she learned how to communicate in a group to signal whether intersections are clear or if there was an oncoming rider or walker on the trail.
“I didn’t know any of that,” she said. “It’s less intimidating in a group.”
Her husband Jeremiah Joyce does some of the We Bike Rochester race rides. He said the Tuesday rides are a less intense pace, and a good way to spend time with his wife and get to know other riders. The couple are from Colorado and are making friends in Minnesota.
“You meet some good people on these rides,” Jeremiah said.
At one point on the ride on the Douglas Trail, the group’s pace was contrasted by a frantic rider who careened down the path toward the group and breathlessly yelled “Bike up, bike up,” as the casual riders hugged the right side of the path.
Dan and Barb Soderberg went on the ride wearing matching racing jerseys riding Trek bikes.
“The cool thing about biking is you get so many different people who do it,” Dan Soderbergh said.
Soderbergh said he preferred wheels that had motors when he was younger, but has grown to enjoy biking as an endurance exercise.
The July 23 ride was during the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. Dave Greymont wore a RAGBRAI jersey from one of the six times he did the river-to-river ride. After riding the length of the Mississippi, Greymont said he is done doing challenge and endurance trips.
“Six years (of RAGBRAI) is enough,” he said.
The Tuesday club ride is an opportunity to keep in shape, enjoy riding and good company, he said.
Riders aren’t left behind. If the length of the ride is too much, people can turn around and begin the return route to Little Thistle early.
“Just let us know so we’re not waiting for you to catch up while you’re enjoying a cold beer,” Denbow said.