New Rider FAQ

So you're new cycling in New Haven? Or, have been in New Haven for a while and are new to cycling? Yale Bulldog Cycling and the New Haven local community have group rides suitable for all levels of rider: beginnerto experienced recreational rider to seasoned racer. We are friendly people, come join us for a ride!

Before we start, let's get the disclaimers and scary warnings over with. Please note that the majority of these rides are NOT run by Yale Cycling, and that ALL rides are at the risk of the participant. You are responsible for ensuring that your equipment is functioning properly and that you are riding in a safe manner so as not to be injured or cause injury to others. Most of the time people ride without anything bad happening. However, by coming on any of these rides you acknowledge that road cycling is inherently a sport with risk and you accept these risks.

This FAQ will answer a lot of questions but the best way to get involved is to subscribe to the Yale Cycling email list and join the conversation. You'll get constant news about lcoal group rides and can even setup one of your own.If you're just looking to go out solo, check out our rides page.

General Group Ride Information

So you're new to group riding?

Some things to remember to bring on every ride:

  • A road bike (unless otherwise specified)
  • Helmet
  • Water bottles and snacks
  • Photo ID and a few dollars in case of ice cream stop or emergency
  • Cell phone
  • Spare tube, tire levers and a pocket pump (ask your local bike shop)
  • Head and tail lights for rides in the evening

Show up with your bike in good working condition, with your tires inflated and ready to ride. Devils Gear or College Street Cycles will be happy to help you with a tune up!

The Devil's Gear Bike Shop College Stree Cycles

If you are new to a ride, show up a few minutes ahead of time and introduce yourself to the ride leaders. Tell them you are new. Let them know if you don't know the area.

If you have questions about group riding or ride preparation and are on one of the beginner rides listed, ask the ride leaders or other riders! Most of us love talking about bicycling.

Use the restroom and fill water bottles BEFORE the advertised leaving time. Expect that the ride will leave at its advertised time.

Pay attention to the advertised mileage and speed of advertised rides. Rides are more fun when everyone is on the same page about what the ride should be. If you want/need to ride faster or slower than the group, that ride may not be right for you.

Bring a map or smart phone with you if you don't know the area, just in case you get separated from the group or have an emergency.

First Timer

Join one of New Haven's many group rides

Start with the Tuesday night Café Romeo's easy ride. This is a no-drop, beginners ride. The only requirements are a helmet and a road bike. Expect to ride 17-25 miles for 1.5-2 hours at 12-14mph. 5:30pm from Café Romeo's in East Rock, show up a little bit early to meet the ride leaders. Cancels in rain more than a drizzle. Check the New Haven Bike Rides Facebook group for updates on weather cancellations.

If you did the Tuesday Café Romeo's ride and are looking for something slightly easier:

Try the Wednesday Ice Cream Ride from the flagpole on the green at 5:30pm! A relatively flat ride up the canal trail to Wentworth's Ice Cream from the flag pole on the New Haven Green. Averages ~10mph, with nobody left behind. Absolute beginners and those needing an easy day and some ice cream in their lives welcome. Note, Wentworth's does have vegan ice cream! If this is more your speed, search for the Outspokin- New Haven Google group.

If you did the Tuesday Café Romeo's ride and are ready for something slightly faster:

Try the Yale Team Recovery Rides on Monday and Fridays during the fall-spring semesters, leaving from the women's table near sterling library. Averages 16-17mph and steady, over rolling terrain for ~1 hour. Stay tuned to the Yale Cycling listserve for times and updates on route by week. New riders welcome, road bikes and helmets required. Click “subscribe” on our website: www.yale.edu\cycling

Try the Devils Gear Tuesday Shop Ride, leaving from Devils Gear Bike Shop Tuesdays at 6pm, which averages a steadier ~14-15mph and covers a few more hills. Cancels for thunder storms but continues in the rain. Year round ride! Bring lights when it starts getting dark before 8. Follows the canal trail in the colder seasons. Check the New Haven Bike Rides Facebook group for updates on weather cancellations.

And The Devils Gear Saturday Shop Ride, leaving from the Devils Gear Bike shop Saturdays at 10am sharp. Similar pace to the Tuesday ride. Usually an Orchard Loop (25 miles) at a 14-15 hour pace, nobody will be left behind (no drop). Check the New Haven Bike Rides Facebook group for updates on weather cancellations.

And The Little LuLu's Ride on Sunday at 10am, from Café Lulu's in East Rock. A slightly easier pace 12-14mph for ~30 miles of roads with a rolling elevation profile. Nobody left behind (no drop). Run by Outspokin. Be sure to leave Lulu's Café with the Little Lulu's ride group, not the first group to depart the café on the longer route!

Beginner and Occassional Group Rider

New Haven and Yale has a lot to offer and a lot of great cyclists to ride with

Try the Thursday Café Romeo's Tempo Ride, from Café Romeo's at 5:30pm on Thursdays. Averages 17-19mph, for two hours of riding time, over rolling terrain with one bigger climb and a town-line sprint. More spirited as the summer goes on. Officially cancels for rain storms, although some may still ride, check New Haven Bike Rides Facebook group for cancellations and weather updates.

And, Lulu's ride on Sunday from Lulu's Café in East Rock at 10:00am. 35 and 55 mile options with rolling terrain and one bigger climb, at a steady 16-18mph pace. Not explicitly no drop, but makes every effort to not leave people behind. The longer route makes a stop in Guilford for baked goods and water refills. Be sure to arrive before 10am to introduce yourself to the ride leaders if you are new to the ride, route or distance.

Experienced Group Rider

Looking for a good group tempo ride with some pacelining and a few climbs? Or, looking to get more familiar with group riding at a 16-19mph pace?

To start off and finish your week, try the Yale Team Recovery Rides on Mondays and Fridays during the fall- spring semesters, leaving from the women's table near sterling library. Averages 16-17mph and steady, over rolling terrain for ~1 hour, with opportunity for some short pre-race weekend efforts towards the end on Fridays. We like to use this time to work on the fun, subtle group riding and bike handling skills that don't require speed – rides sometimes have a theme. Stay tuned to the Yale Cycling listserve for times and updates on route by week. New riders welcome, road bikes and helmets required. Click “subscribe” on our website: www.yale.edu\cycling

Try the Thursday Café Romeo's Tempo Ride, from Café Romeo's at 530pm on Thursdays. Averages 17-19mph, for two hours of riding time, over rolling terrain with one bigger climb and a town-line sprint. More spirited as the summer goes on. Officially cancels for rain storms, although some may still ride, check New Haven Bike Rides Facebook group for cancellations and weather updates.

The Friday morning ride at 7:30am from the corner of Orange and Coldspring in East Rock (8am on holidays). About 35 rolling miles at ~18 mph average. The local racers' recovery and pre-race ride with some short faster bits and sprints thrown in towards the end. Watch the Yale Cycling listserve for email updates on cancellations in inclement weather. Not explicitly no drop, but makes every effort to not leave people behind.

And, Lulu's ride on Sunday from Lulu's Café in East Rock at 10am. 35 and 55 mile options with rolling terrain and one bigger climb, at a steady 16-18mph pace. Not explicitly no drop, but makes every effort to not leave people behind. The longer route makes a stop in Guilford for baked goods and water refills. Be sure to arrive before 10am to introduce yourself to the ride leaders if you are new to the ride, route or distance.

Serious Racer

Want to hang with Yale Cycling for something longer or faster?

Try the Yale Ride on Saturday at 9:00am from the Women's Table near Sterling Library or 9:05ish from Orange and Coldspring in East Rock. 55-65 miles of riding at a 17-18 and beyond mph averages, dependant on group. Starts out easy, then an all out gallup down Rt 17 to the tavern at the intersection of Rt 77 where it regroups for the trip through Guilford or Madison and back to New Haven. During nice weather there are usually enough riders to allow for multiple groups of different paces. Not explicitly a no-drop ride, bring a smart phone or a map if you aren't sure of your drafting abilities.

Still want something faster? Looking for race training?

Try the Sleeping Giant Ride at 6pm on Tuesday nights the local unofficial race without a registration fee. Ride out to the Sleeping Giant parking lot with New Haven locals at 5:30pm. Expect a pace in the mid- twenties, for about two hours. During cool weather, switches over to Sunday mornings for a longer route.

Student Wanting to Join Yale Cycling

Join one of the funnest clubs at Yale and one of the fastest teams in the country.

First and foremost, even if you are not a member of the team you are welcome to ride with us anytime. But, in order to take advantage of all our sponsorship offers and get financial support from the school on race weekends, you have to join up.

You MUST be a full-time Yale student to join the team. That includes all schools (medical, management, divinity, etc.) and Ph. D students. Unfortunatrly no post-doc students though.

There are only a few requirements for joining.

  • You must own a road bike. We have some to loan out for you to try out but come race season you'll need your own machine.
  • You have to buy a Yale Cycling jersey. We get amazing discounts on these from the manufacturer and are not too costly. Be on the look out for emails about our bi-annual kit order.
  • Depending on how much you're interested in racing, there are season dues you must pay. See below.
  • USA Cycling issues every collegiate racer a license, these cost $30. If you already have a USAC license, the collegiate add-on is free.
  • Finally, we require all team members to race at least twice in the spring. There are usually seven or eight weekends and plenty of chances to get those done. We suggest coming to one of the early-season races because we know you'll be hooked and want to race them all.

So you pay some money and are officially part of the team, what does that get you? Yale is very supportive of our team and our sponsors are fantastic. We have one of the best funded programs in the country. So, all travel expenses, lodging, and race entry fees are covered. If you've ever raced before you know how much that can add up. Essentially, the cost of joining is money that goes a very long way, it will be worth it after one weekend.

So, make sure you subscribe to the email list to stay up to date on team dealings. Also, get in contact with one of the team captains and start racing for Yale today.

Team Dues

We are excited to announce a newly expanded set of programming for the coming year including:

  • More clinics and workshops!
  • Expanded spinning hours (longer season, 3x week!)
  • More support for more racing seasons! A full mountain, track, cyclocross and road season for year round participation
  • Club level, affiliate membership for Yale affiliates wishing to race non-collegiate USAC races under our USA Cycling general team name - if you just graduated, this means you can still join us!

If you plan to participate in any mountain, cyclocross or track racing this August-September (early season), you should plan to pay dues at least two weeks in advance of your first race so we can minimize headache and make sure your expenses are reimbursable. As always, you can pay a club officer in person by check made out to Yale Bulldog Cycling and noted as "for deposit only" on the back, or Paypal (add 3% and forward the receipt to elif.erez@yale.edu AND travis.rabbit@yale.edu.

Please see the following new dues structure and set of benefits for each level, which will make all of this possible. Your cost of membership may have gone up, or down, depending on your needs/uses. We know that nobody likes spending money, but we think that this will allow us to keep the club awesome now and make it even more awesome for years to come.

Notes: Membership levels may be upgraded mid-season by paying the difference in dues. No refunds or downgrades will be given. No race-weekend dues will be expected on top of these yearly dues.

We encourage anyone who is an ongoing member and wishes to race more than a single weekend to join at the 7 race weekend or unlimitted racing membership option. The club/affiliate level membership is really more for Yale affiliates or those who are just dipping a toe into the waters of racing this year.

Club/ affiliate level membership: 45$ per academic year

  • 1st intro weekend (includes hotel/host housing, team travel) OR one local race weekend or team event with necessary registration (ie. CT state time trial)
  • Team discount on kit order
  • Access to all team rides, coached skills sessions, bike repair workshops, and social programming
  • Spinning once per week fall-spring, when space allows (limited and unlimited racing members prioritized)
  • Does NOT include access to sponsorship deals except those at team events (ie. Peanut butter, etc.

Season pass/ 7 race plan: 120$ per academic year

  • 7 race weekends of any discipline per year (includes hotel/host housing, team travel) and at least one weekend must be road season
  • Team discount on kit order
  • Access to all team rides, coached skills sessions, bike repair workshops, and social programming
  • Full access to team spinning sessions (2x weekly fall/spring, 3x weekly winter)
  • Full access to sponsorship package
  • Expected participation in team events, meetings, and volunteering for once monthly ride-leader duties (experienced members)

Unlimited racing: 240$ per academic year

  • Unlimited race weekends per year (includes hotel/host housing, team travel), in any discipline. At least one weekend must be road season
  • Team discount on kit order
  • Access to all team rides, coached skills sessions, bike repair workshops, and social programming
  • Full access to team spinning sessions (2x weekly fall/spring, 3x weekly winter)
  • Full access to sponsorship package
  • Expected participation in team events, meetings, and volunteering for once monthly ride-leader duties (experienced members)
  • All athletes who wish to be considered for national event qualification must be participating at this membership level

© Ian Forsyth 2013