Cycling Club

The purpose of the Cycling Club is to promote physical wellness and exercise, as well as to provide a social gathering in an effort to build our faith community. The Cycling Club is a mission of the Men’s Club and falls under their wellness initiative, though anyone from the parish and their extended family and friends are welcome to attend.

Rides are scheduled every three to four weeks in the spring and fall and every other week during the summer. Most rides are on Saturday mornings, but some are on Sunday afternoons and Thursday evenings. The Cycling Club rides Rails to Trails in the Western PA and Eastern Ohio regions. Trails are generally located within an hour to an hour and a half from the church. Rides are scheduled for three hours, followed by a picnic. There is at least one lead cycler and a trailing cycler to help monitor everyone’s progress and attend to needs.

The Cycling Club offers the opportunity to meet a variety of parishioners from all age groups who you may not have the opportunity to meet otherwise. All you need is a bike, helmet, water, snack, and a basic to intermediate level of riding experience.

Contact: Larry Mueller at larrymueller@yahoo.com or 412-951-0447

CYCLING RULES

  • All members under the age of 18 must be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian. The trail guides are not chaperones or babysitters.
  • Children must stay with their parent or legal guardian at all times and cannot ride alone.
  • Always ride with the group or at least one other person.
  • Helmets must be worn at all times while riding.
  • Watch out for and assist your fellow riders if they need help.
  • Respect your fellow riders and walkers who are on the trail. Use proper trail etiquette.
  • Please obey all trail rules.
  • Have fun! Enjoy the journey!

CYCLING FAQ

Bike and Maintenance

What’s the best kind of oil to use for my chain?
Chain oil is easily found at any bike shop or Walmart. There are different types of oils available for different conditions, but in general, an all-purpose oil works well for rail trail riding. Apply liberally but be sure to wipe of the excess by rotating the chain while holding a rag around it. Otherwise it will attract dirt and you may be worse off than when you started.

Is it possible to rent a bike and where?
This will depend on the ride. If you’re riding the Pittsburgh trails, there is a rental shop on the trail at the First Avenue Garage. You may be able to borrow one from a neighbor or friend. You don’t need anything fancy to get started.

What is the best kind of seat for riding?
Seats are merely a personal preference but some designs offer more comfort on longer rides.

What kind of clothing is needed?
If you are just getting started and doing short rides, almost anything will do, except long baggy pants will get caught in the chain. If you plan to ride regularly, bike pants with a chamois make a big difference in comfort and being able to do longer rides. The same is true for bike gloves. Some sort of eye wear for protection is advisable. As to shirts/jerseys, some kind of wicking fabric is good. The amount of layering will depend on the weather and the amount of wind speed. Special pedals and bike shoe questions are better off answered individually. We can advise on bike computers as well, if you have questions.

Traveling and Meeting at the Trail

Will we meet at the church or at the trail parking lot?
It will depend on the ride and the preference of the riders.

What if I miss a trail event?
Come to one or come to them all; whatever works for you.

Can I drop my kids off and then pick them up?
NO! There will be guides. There will not be chaperones. The guides will not be responsible for under age riders.

What if it rains or looks like it’s going to rain?
Some rides may happen rain or shine. If one dresses appropriately, any ride can be a good ride.

What if I can’t find the parking lot?
Always plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time if you are traveling to a trailhead you have never been to before. Most of the ones we will be going to should be easily found and you will have directions ahead of time. Guide contact cell phone numbers will be available, but there are some trails with marginal or no cell signal.

What if I’m late meeting at the trail head?
The plan will be to start the ride on time. If you get a late start, you may be able to catch up to the slower riders.

On the Trail

What kind of snacks and drinks should I bring along?
You should bring water or sports drinks, according to your preference, but bring something and plan according to the weather. On a hot day and an aggressive ride, one can need to replace a quart an hour without realizing it. One trick is to take an extra bottle with you and finish it before you start the ride. That way, you are sure to start with a full tank. One of the most common reasons for someone to get into trouble is they start the ride already down a little on hydration and don’t drink regularly while riding. A water bottle in the cage is OK. If you plan to be a regular rider, a Camelback with a fluid reservoir or the equivalent is a good investment and it allows storage room to carry other necessities.

Are there bathrooms and places to buy water along the paths?
Usually there are portable toilets at commonly used trail heads. Most of the trail website maps will indicate this. Some trails have water fountains, but it is best to plan ahead and bring your own.

How will others know if I’m with the parish on the trail?
The guides will have some kind of pre-designated identifier. Otherwise, it will be the people you see at the start. If you happen to be riding next to someone, say hello, regardless of whether they are with our ride or not. Riders usually share a common bond and are generally friendly and happy to engage a stranger they may meet.

What if I can’t keep up with my riding partner?
Ride at your own pace. You will generally find that there is someone else at your level. If you want to push a little, try to link up with someone just a little faster and see how long you can keep up. Remember, it’s about the journey, not the destination. There will be a tailing guide.

What if I have a breakdown or an accident on the trail?
A fellow rider may be able to help and there will always be a trailing guide.

CYCLING LINKS

Great Allegheny Passage: http://www.atatrail.org
Montour Trail: http://wwwmontourtrail.org
Rails to Trails Conservancy: http://www.railstotrails.org
Bike Repair Information: http://www.bicycletour.com
Bike Pittsburgh: http://www.bike-pgh.org
Online Bike Accessories: http://www.nashbar.com or http://www.pricepoint.com