Wear It Pink! Fundraising ride

Wear It Pink! Fundraising ride

VC Melyd members Sue Seller and Sally Jones have been very busy organizing a fundraising event to raise money for the research charity Breast Cancer Now. Initially posted on Ladies Who Cycle – the event is open to all with the stipulation you are to “Wear It Pink!” and donate.

The ride will start at 10 am from Rhuddlan Nature Reserve, and take in 35 socially routed and paced miles.

Route and event organizers will bow to the demands of Storm Brian – however, this may be an incentive for others to contribute if the weather is exciting enough … we will be keeping an eye open for wind assisted Strava segments ;D

“Join us to raise money for research into cancer on Saturday 21st October @10am. Social ride to suit everyone who can manage a 35 miles at a social pace. Don’t forget to “wear it pink!”. Donations on the day— Sue Seller

If you have any further questions contact Sue or Sally directly or post to the group. Good luck ladies – may the weather be in your favour.

Recruiting: Marsh Tracks Race Team

Recruiting: Marsh Tracks Race Team

Not every club are as lucky as VC Melyd in having such great resource such as Marsh Tracks on their doorstep – and currently Marsh Tracks Race Team are recruiting for youth and junior riders.

It is a great club agnostic progression for talented riders of all ages to progress to, receive structured training from the array of coaches we now field, along with others in the area, and progress to compete.

MTRT (Marsh Tracks Race Team) is currently recruiting for youth riders, for Road Racing, Time Trial,  CycloCross, Mountain Bike (MTB), and Cyclocross (CX) so whether it’s something you thought you would like to progress to, or you know someone who would grow with the opportunity – now is the time to apply. The recruitment window is open from Saturday the 22nd of October 2016 until Saturday November the 5th 2016 – and take up is reportedly good, so DO NOT DELAY.

With the post going onto the VCM FB page late in the week – do  get the word out there – it is a great local and shared resource and should be used.

VCM is our primary feeder club and development of young riders is our goal.

–Darren Wareing (VCM/MTRT)

MTRT are Recruiting Youth and Junior Riders

Bikes & Beer

Bikes & Beer

This has been running for a while, and you may see some familiar faces in the article too.

In short – bike mechanics, social enterprise, bikes, cyclists, in a local brewery with a really really nice bloke called Tom.

Good heavens – why would you not? Next one up Thursday 22nd September 2016.


For more information https://www.facebook.com/BikesBeersNW/ or contact tom@carbon-monkey.co.uk.

Welsh Cycling Member Survey 2016

Welsh Cycling Member Survey 2016

Welsh Cycling have opened the Member Perception Survey for 2016.

They are looking to identify what riders experience while cycling in Wales and their perception of how Welsh Cycling is involved with this.

They want to improve their understanding of the cycling community in Wales, and look at how they can support clubs, members and volunteers.

All those that complete the survey by Wednesday 1 September will be entered in to a draw to win a pair of VIP tickets to the Tour of Britain.

Please complete by Wednesday 1st September for a chance to win a pair of VIP hospitality tickets to the Tour of Britain.

Help us to grow our sport together.


Marsh Tracks Race Team Website Live

Marsh Tracks Race Team Website Live

Marsh Tracks, Rhyl – second home to VC Melyd, and our array of BC qualified coaches – is also home to Marsh Tracks Race Team (MTRT). This has evolved significantly from its previous incarnation. Backed by sponsors such ProPaint, B2, The Edge Cycleworks – they now have a new kit, and new team (with fine photos from Sheridan Photography) for 2016.

As of June – the site has a new website also – with much credit going to Darren Waering for putting the time in to pull this together. Take a moment to head over the Marsh Tracks Race Team and see what they have been up to … it’s clear I need to raise my game … and get on your collective cases to write me more content!! You have been warned 😉

Petition: To introduce a permanent, minimum passing distance when overtaking cyclists.

Petition: To introduce a permanent, minimum passing distance when overtaking cyclists.

The following petition for “Introduction of a permanent, minimum passing distance when overtaking cyclists” has been raised on the UK Governments Petition site – should you wish to put your name to it. The details are as follows:

Cycling in the UK has become a truly popular sport and way of commuting, but we still vulnerable.In 2014 21,287 cyclist were injured in reported road accidents in the UK, 113 were killed and 3,401 were seriously injured.The Highway Code, Rule 212 states giving “plenty of room” when passing cyclists.

The lack of a clear specification may result in a personal decision what a “plenty of room” means in terms of distance. Therefore, introducing a minimum legal passing distance when overtaking cyclists will considerably reduce the number of cyclist casualties, aiding in a safe cycling practice. Suggestion of 3.28 ft (1 m) when overtaking cyclists on roads with speed limits up to and including 30mph. On roads with higher speed limits, the minimum passing distance should be 4.9 ft (1.5 m).

My first year in a cycling club

My first year in a cycling club

If you’re reading this, you may be where I was a couple of years ago, wanting a new hobby and/or a new way of keeping fit. After a summer of cycling with my cousin on a hybrid bike, I’d decided by September 2014 that I wanted to go ‘further and faster’ and that the hybrid wasn’t really conducive to what I wanted out of cycling. After googling cycling clubs, I came across VC Melyd’s website and emailed Mark Allen for some advice. Mark was very helpful and suggested I go to Marsh Tracks (MT) on a Monday evening for the ladies’ session, so one cold November evening I ventured to MT, hired a road bike and had my first ‘go’ on a road bike around the track. Wow! What a difference! This was what I’d been looking for in terms of ‘faster’ in any case. I joined the other beginners and Mark gave us an induction and we went round and round the small track, getting used to the bike and the gears and learning how to cycle safely on a road and how to deal with any obstacles along the way. I went to MT on Monday evenings through the winter, got used to the bike, the gears and progressed to join the experienced group on the bigger track. Everyone was very friendly and some had been cycling for years and obviously loved cycling. We had to fill in some paperwork and one of the questions was ‘what do you want to achieve from attending the MT sessions?’ – my answer was to be good enough to join a club ride on a Sunday.

Fast forward to April 2015 when I did the Gran Fondo Conwy ‘bach’ route on my hybrid. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and the atmosphere, the only downside was that I was on my hybrid and the majority were on road bikes. By this time, I’d also been on one or two ladies’ ride on a Thursday evening and again they were all on their road bikes and I was on my hybrid. That was it, decision made. After months of reading articles about bikes and cycling, I treated myself to a road bike and although I was very apprehensive about the cleats and being “clipped in” I knew I had to do it. When I went to collect the bike, I was lucky enough to be able to try out the bike and cleats in the company of staff who were very helpful and gave me some confidence with clipping-in and unclipping.

The Thursday night ladies’ ride was a great way to get used to cycling as part of a group. Everyone was very friendly and able to offer advice and answer any questions I had about cycling. In July I went on my first Sunday intermediate ride and loved it; we went to Llanrwst and obviously there were hills but what goes up must come down and in North Wales you won’t go far without a hill so it’s best to get used to them sooner rather than later. I took part in the Manchester 100 ride in September and did my first 100 mile ride; it was a great day out and hardly any hills, which was a treat!

Group rides are great for a number of reasons: there’s safety in numbers, an opportunity to meet new people, try new routes and new roads and it’s a really good way of improving as a cyclist as you tend to go that little bit faster than you would on your own. Also, what’s really fantastic about VC Melyd rides is that there’ll be regular stop and re-group points, so if you are having a bit of an off-day and not quite able to keep up then don’t panic, everyone will stop, wait, re-group and then start off again together.

So there we go, a taster of my first year of cycling with VC Melyd. I would encourage anyone who has a bike and enjoys cycling to go to one of the regular Marsh Tracks coaching sessions. Ladies on a Monday evening at 7pm, under 12’s on a Thursday at 6pm and open session on Thursday at 7pm. You’ll meet a lot of nice people who are very welcoming and encouraging and you’ll soon have a new hobby where you’ll become familiar with all the nice cafes in the area as a coffee and cake stop is obligatory on a bike ride!

Best Practices for Group and Club Rides

Best Practices for Group and Club Rides

Ever wondered what the British Cycling Guidelines were for Group Rides and the like? No, me neither – however they exist. Who knew*?! Either click the link for the PDF, or pan through their suggestions below.

Have a glance through – is there something here that you think we can assist with, or feel that we are not meeting? Fancy bringing it up at the AGM? Either way we will be looking to encorporate as many of these as we can to meet the best practice for the next issue of the ride rota.

*Our British Cycling qualified coaches would know this – just so we know ; )

Club/Group Ride/Training Session – on the public highway
Best practice is…..

  • Have a predetermined start time and communicate the route to all participants.
  • All participants should comply with the Highway Code.
  • All adult participants are responsible for their own well-being during the ride and
    should be prepared for situations such as adverse weather conditions,
    mechanical problems and flat tyres.
  • Have emergency procedures and communicate them to all participants. This
    should include emergency procedures for incidents that riders may experience
    during a ride (eg punctures, mechanical problems, changes in environmental
    conditions, accidents involving one or more members of the group).
  • Have procedures in place to ensure that individual riders are not left on their
    own during the session.
  • All riders should be aged 12 years or older, and be competent at a level
    equivalent to the Level 2 Cycle Training Standards.
  • There is a greater duty of care for riders under the age of 18 years. Therefore, if
    there are riders aged 12-18 years in the group, somebody will need to take
    responsibility for these riders and ensure they are not left on their own during
    the session.
  • Have a signed parental consent form for all riders under the age of 18 years.
  • All riders should be encouraged to take part in activities that are within their
  • All riders must wear a helmet.

Club/Group Ride/Training Session – facility
Best practice is…..

  • Know, and comply with, the rules and regulations of the facility, such as the
    normal operating procedures, emergency operating procedures, codes of
    conduct, etc.
  • All riders should be encouraged to take part in activities that are within their
  • Ensure there is adequate first aid provision.
  • All riders must wear a helmet.
  • Club/Group Ride/Training Session – off road.


Club/Group Ride/Training Session – off road

Best practice is…..

  • Always have a leader in attendance with an appropriate off-road leadership
    qualification that is recognised by British Cycling.
  • The leader should hold a valid British Cycling Coaching License, which includes
    the requirement to have a valid first aid certificate.
  • The leader should only lead rides that are within the limits of his/her qualification
    (eg altitude, distance, environment, number of riders in the group, etc).
  • All participants should follow the Countryside Code (England and Wales) and
    the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
  • The route must not include areas where riders are prohibited under current
  • All riders should be encouraged to take part in activities that are within their
  • Have a signed parental consent form for all riders under the age of 18 years.
     All riders must wear a helmet.


Coaching Group Sessions

Best practice is…..

  • Always have a coach in attendance with an appropriate and recognised British
    Cycling coaching qualification.
  • The coach should hold a valid British Cycling Coaching License, which includes
    the requirement to have a valid first aid certificate.
  • The coaching should be consistent with the British Cycling Code of Conduct and
    meet the minimum standards outlined in the British Cycling Health and Safety
    Guidelines for Coaching Cycling.
  • The coach should operate within the remit of his/her coaching qualification.

Coaching Individuals
Best practice is…

  • The coach must hold a recognised British Cycling Club Coach or a Level 3
  • coaching qualification in the appropriate discipline.
  • The coach should hold a valid British Cycling Coaching License, which includes
    the requirement to have a valid first aid certificate.
  • The coaching should be consistent with the British Cycling Code of Conduct and meet the minimum standards outlined in the British Cycling Health and Safety.

Guidelines for Coaching Cycling…

  • The coach should operate within the remit of his/her coaching qualification.
  • The minimum age for riders to receive individual training prescription is usually
    16 years old. However, in some instances, it may be appropriate for riders aged
    14-16 years old to receive individual training prescription.
  • For further detail regarding the health and safety requirements of coaching
    groups and individual riders, please see the British Cycling Health and Safety
    Guidelines for Coaching Cycling.

Running a competitive event
Best practice is….

Speak to the British Cycling events team on 0161 274 2020 or visit the British
Cycling website www.britishcycling.org.uk for full guidance on running a cycling
event in one of the following disciplines:

  • BMX
  • Circuit
  • Cycle Speedway
  • Cycle Sportive
  • Cyclo Cross
  • Leisure Ride (on or off road)
  • Mountain Bike
  • Road
  • Track
Keeping fit as 50 approaches!

Keeping fit as 50 approaches!

As we draw to an end of another successful season for V C Melyd it’s time to again reflect on the end of the cycling season and what it has meant for me.

A broadly positive experience with a few ups and downs, mostly of which were nasty hills!

We have been involved in all sorts of events this year as a club, from our usual and varied club rides including many away days, local and some more iconic and challenging sportives and of course the Time Trial and Road Racing leagues.

I for one have had a go at it all this year. Dipped my toe into it all so to speak. I’ve been lucky enough to have been subjected to a structured training plan from the beginning of January. It’s been tough at times but the benefits I am now feeling are surprising to be honest.

We often read about structuring our riding and training to goals and ensuring your diet supports it all too. We see the same articles being churned out in the cycling press year after year. I’ve read them year after year and just continued riding my bike. Some good days, some not so good days. Just riding.

Within the training plan I had certain goals set. I am not overly interested in criterium racing particularly on a closed circuit. It just does not float my boat. I’ve tried it a few times and it’s a young mans’ game. Yes I could hold my own as in finish in the pack but riding in circles for an hour isn’t for me. So that goal was out. I fancied having a good go at the local Time Trial league. I struggled last year as I had a bad shoulder injury after a crash so my TT season was awful. I was still having shoulder problems so I wanted to develop my TT riding skills. Goal number one. The second goal I agreed was around the type of riding I really enjoy. That is longer endurance type riding where there are tough and testing elements – hills. I really enjoy riding in the open countryside and pushing myself every now and again on sections of roads which are normally hills. Much more appealing than riding in circles so that was goal number two set.

So my two broad goals were get the TT position sorted and get more comfortable riding and work to get over the shoulder injury and the second was to train for some testing and longer endurance events with some tough hilly bits thrown in.  I chose three events to work towards within my plan. They were the Fred Whitton Challenge, the Morzine Alpine Sportive and the London 100. I had wanted to try the local road race series but there was a big conflict with my work which made it prudent not to.

Armed with a plan off I went. Every week a new plan came and every week I worked hard achieving my small goals. Feedback is key. I spent a lot of time understanding how I felt how I was performing within the plan and being sure I was not doing too much or indeed not doing enough. All very new to me. A very enjoyable experience.

I was a stooge in this, I’m an ageing grey haired forty something, nearly 50 year old MAMIL. I don’t need a training plan. I just want to enjoy riding my bike! Alan Overson was doing is coaching qualifications with British Cycling. I had a deal with him. I’d work hard both on the bike and with the ever so important feedback and he would seek to understand how he can develop me through structured training. Principally he needed to make me faster. That’s what it is all about after all. Cut to the chase. I’m not training regarding race tactics. I’m riding my bike on my own and to a plan. We need to see improvement and in the cycling world that transposes to speed.

Eating the right things at the right times has been key too. My son is a Coach with Blackburn Rovers and a Personal Trainer with Virgin Fitness. He specialises in Strength and Conditioning and has all sorts of qualifications regarding sports nutrition. Another freebie was coming my way. A nutritional plan. To be fair to him he even got me a lot of nutrition products as he’s sponsored by A supplement company. (Not free by the way – a mild discount) My pantry is like a supplement shop!

We all needed a way to keep a good analytical record of my progress. We discussed a few different applications. Training Peaks, Garmin Connect, Strava and just plain old spread sheets. We decided upon Strava as it had everything we needed plus I could make direct comparisons to how I was riding on one piece of road at different times because of their segment feature.

In the early months of the plan there was a lot of build up work. Lots of work in different Heart Rate zones and cadence and differing length rides, all of which had a very detailed brief. My out door riding was coupled with “this will make you sick” turbo sessions. I’ve never worked in a structured way on a turbo. I was told to be sure I could get off the bike and onto a soft surface and to always have a sick bowl next to the bike. For real!

The weeks came and the weeks went. Plan followed pain followed feedback followed plan. I really enjoyed it. For the first time in 35 years of riding a bike (off and on – pardon the pun) I had structure to my riding. I even had rest days off the bike! That was strange for me as I live on my bike, my wife Debs, has always referred to me as “you know Daz, he rides everywhere on his bike” when we dated at the tender age of 15 – yes I was going everywhere on my bike. It was a Raleigh Winner then. Nothing has changed she says.

Rest. I didn’t like it. We had to change the rest days off the bike to “adaptation” days. On these days I would do my core work and very occasionally would do a very gentle recovery ride. Zone 1, think about a 12mph average on a flat loop for an hour. Or I would just rest my legs as in hardly use them if the plan said so. That usually followed one of those nasty turbo sessions. Zone 5×5. I still don’t like seeing that written down.

Progress was needed, for the three of us. So was it achieved in the end? It most certainly was. In all honesty I was getting frustrated as I felt the progress and indeed the plan wasn’t testing enough at first but I bowed to the experts and went with it. I did all of the events I had planned and was surprised at how I could ride within them. Riding the challenging mountain passes of the Lake District in the sideways rain in the Fred Whitton Challenge was my first proper test. The work had paid off I felt good and strong for the event. I faltered within the last 10 miles or so as the wind and rain got to me and I had to temper my efforts. Knowing how I could do this whilst being mindful of my numbers (HR, power, speed  etc.) helped me greatly. Another benefit of the training was that I now know what I can do and at what effort – I am now a stat geek. Yikes.

I too was over the moon with my riding in France. The Alpine sportive was my first in the Alps. Now that is tough climbing and stunning riding. The one day event was a true test for me and it was important that I worked to the plan and ensured I stuck to it. No heroics. Know my numbers and work to them. I missed most of the views on the Sunday! When I blinked I could see “Garmin”. Funny. The ride was good. I really enjoyed it. I tempered my efforts on the climbs which were long and tough but I was able to complete it to plan and I was very happy with how it went. The time I took was never a goal. That would be a consequence of riding to plan. It was and I was happy.

London too was a great day out riding. I’ve done it twice before when we have had a team of four in “The Club Challenge”. It’s a sportive ride on 100 miles of closed roads. The club challenge was always billed as a timed event where four from the same club work together and aim to beat other clubs. A four man TT type of thing. That’s how we rode it in years before though as its over 100 miles and our teams had different abilities it was always a jolly day out though a tough ride. This year though we wanted a strong team so that we could challenge other clubs to the virtual podium. All a bit of fun whilst experiencing 100 undulating closed road miles finishing with a sprint along the red Tarmac of The Mall.

The experience was totally different this year. Our team was seeded as we all put 4 hours as a target time to complete it and some of us provided evidence of times from the previous years where we had top ten (virtual) finishes. There was no way this was a club challenge when we started in the first group. It turned into a pseudo road race but without having the necessary infrastructure and support. It was quite an experience but never the less met my needs in respect of my goal. I went with it. The standard of riding was surprisingly good. I had no issues at all. Yes we were close and yes it was fast but it was fine. I tried to stay at the front of the bunch and we worked hard as a team when we could. Four hours and six mins was my time. I was very happy with that. The climbs spilt the riders as expected and I managed to stay with the main group before a slowing was experienced due to a car on the route. No drama though as the second group was great fun. I did too much on the front though. A great day out.

I’m summary then, having a structure and a plan has improved my heath, fitness and wellbeing no end. Have I done it to win races? No, indeed not, I’m far too old for that. I’ve enjoyed my goals which is what it us all about for me. Use of Strava has been a drama, only as I use it to track progress sometimes “crowns” pop up and that can create a world of fun as Strava develops into a social media platform. I’m not really into all that and I’m unsure as we get segments popping up everywhere it’s the best tool to use. Jury is out for me but I do enjoy looking at my progress. Seeing others progress too is great. Comparing times on there with others is what it is all about though really it’s not great at that as we all know the environmental factors when riding a bike impact greatly on “times”. I will concentrate on my performance and plough on using it. It’s a shame you can’t opt out of public leaderboards whilst keeping all other data public. Private rides take too much functionality away.  I’m sure it will mature and the functionality will grow. Let’s hope so.

Give a plan a go. It’s hard, it’s tough but it’s very rewarding. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no great bike rider, I’m not deluded! I’ve just enjoyed riding to a plan and I’m rewarded with higher fitness which has impacted upon my health and wellbeing positively.

I keep on being asked why I don’t race, the honest answer is I’m not great in competitions, it’s a mental thing. I really do not enjoy it. I never have. I love riding my bike. Each to their own. We are all riding and enjoyment is a must. As soon as I stop enjoying riding my bike I will stop and find another fantastic hobby.

Happy riding (structured) 🙂