1. Who founded the club and how did it come to life?
“With more than 600 members the FWBA is one of the largest bicycling clubs in North Texas. The members are people like you who ride bicycles for recreation, fitness, and sport. The club has riders of all shapes, sizes, and skill levels. All Ages too! What do we do? Recreational bike rides in Fort Worth and the surrounding area. Our members ride bicycles: road bikes, hybrids, mountain bikes, tandems, and recumbents. We offer several types of regularly scheduled rides, so you can choose the ride that best suits your riding skill. Most weekend rides have designated leaders, and maps are handed out at the start of each ride. For newer or less experienced riders, the ride leader makes every effort to ensure no one rides alone.” via http://www.fwbaclub.org/
2. What is your cycling clubs mission?
The club’s mission is to promote a healthy and enjoyable time on the bike.
3. How many members does you team/club have?
The club has several hundred members, I’m guessing we have 200 active members.
4. What is your favorite route in your area? Which are your top 3 favorite MUST DO rides/routes in Texas?
My favorite route in my area is the route out of Weatherford which goes to Springtown. Surprisingly this route has a lot of hills. Once you get out of Weatherford, west of Fort Worth, the terrain changes considerably and the route from Weatherford to Springtown has serious climbs. In particular there is a ride that has 4300ft of climbing in just a 100K route. I thoroughly enjoy the hills. I enjoy the scenery that outs there, the Texas prairie. Once you get on top of some of those hills and you can see forever it seems. The scenery, terrain and climb makes for great ride!
- One of my favorite rides is Hotter than hell
- Another ride that I like is the Goat Neck out of Cleburne
- Lastly, I like the Peach pedal out Weatherford
5. What would be the most valuable tips you can give to a beginning cyclist that would like to get to the next level?
- When you buy a bike, get it fitted. I see people with their knees crunched and no leg extension saying their rear hurts, my first thought is- maybe you’re not adjusted just right.
- Also a good pair of bibs/shorts are a must. Spend your money where you sit! Especially if you are riding for any long length of time. I have no problem spending $200 a pair of shorts! But I always look at Ebay first!
6. What is the best advice someone ever gave you?
One piece of advice that sticks to me most was given to me by another cyclist who unfortunately passed away on a club ride, he told me: Don’t try what you’ve always tried, try something different! If you are riding the same routes or at the same speed, you don’t progress. On the weekends I do slow rides and during the week I go out and ride with a hard charging bunch of cyclists. It allows me to gage my progression and strength and to see how much further I can go when I go out during the week. First time you may last 10 miles, but in a few months you’re making the whole loop with the club. Push past the difficult times and don’t quit right at the moment when success is just on the other side.
7. How does the club make you a better rider?
The club makes you a better in the sense that you’re sharing an activity that you need to share with others. The comradery! Also what makes you totally better is there is always someone there to push you beyond what you think you can do. If you’re by yourself- you have a cyclist demon/angel on either of your shoulders, one saying give up and the other saying keep going. Depending on the day, decides which one you listen to and when you’re by yourself you usually end up listening to the one saying give up and call it a day.
8. What has been your most memorable experience involving your club?
Most memorable experience happened at a Hotter than Hells a few years ago. We ended up staying together as group and a husband and wife riding on a tandem took the charge and we rode their wheel the first 100K, miles clicked off so fast. We were at that point in no time. Then we turned and they left without us. We were all like holy crap we have 40 miles to go and we ended up losing our engine but we still ended up finishing in less than 5 hours. The weather played perfectly- not too hot, wind perfect and a tandem to lead us all a way round. It was the most memorable ride with the club guys. When you’re caught by yourself, it’s a struggle to make it and I’ve made it in around 5 hours and a half. The time I did it with others people we squeezed it in 4 hours and 50 minutes. I haven’t done it since but it was a fun achievement! It takes other people or club members to really knock out a personal best.
9. How do you keep everyone motivated?
We have various rides on the week, changing ride leaders on weekend rides, varying the routes, always a challenging route. One ride leader, Jerry Franks who is in his 70s, rides a Pinarello Dogma with campagnolo bora wheel set. He is just phenomenal! He holds rides into Springtown with all the hills. He purposely sets up the ride to cover all the hills. His nickname is evil Jerry because of that. I call him Genius Jerry because to find all the hills takes a lot of work. I enjoy the challenge he puts out. People that are older can really motivate you. In the club there are professionals, retirees, members in their 60 and 70s, they are out for a good ride and not to hammer around for two hours and to see who they can drop on a hill. There are some very strong 50 and 60s year olds who can hold their own over 25 year olds. We will be riding and here comes this 70 year old passing us on a hill. When you ride behind Jerry and look at his legs you don’t realize they are 70 year old legs, they compete with 30 year olds. He holds such a good pace you don’t realize the age of the rider until you come up beside him and look at him. Then you say to yourself- you look like my grandfather! If anyone tells me they are suffering from bad health, first thing I tell them is get a bike! IN my book that I’ve written called 100 degrees of separation which is mostly about bike riding, I talk about how riding gets you out. Its mind clearing, free therapy. Getting out for a ride and you’re solo, you can think about a solution/problem or nothing at all. Once you’re finished your perspective of anything has changed and you see things with a clearer mind.
All images via FWAB’s flickr
Thank you Alan for taking the time to talk to us about your club and sharing your advice, tips and experiences!