Join the pack
Whether you are a cycling enthusiast or you just purchased your first bike, joining a bicycle club is a great way to meet others who share your passion.
San Antonio is home to several clubs that vary in skill level, dues, meeting requirements and more, but they all have one thing in common, and that is a love of biking. One of the user-friendliest groups in the Alamo City is the Hill Country Bicycle Touring Club (HCBTC), which focuses on easy-paced rides that average approximately 30 miles.
“We ride to eat,” jokes president Vernon Jeys, who explains that the rides usually start and end at a restaurant. “We usually ride in one big loop.”
The second largest club in the city, HCBTC boasts a membership of close to 200 people and offers several group rides each week. Jeys leads three of those weekly tours and says that the group is one of the most inclusive in the area.
“We are small enough where anyone can join, but you don’t have to join to be able to ride with us — you just have to show up,” he says. “You can’t go the overnight trips or attend the social events if you don’t join though,” he adds.
Those social events and overnighters include weekend tours to places like Goliad and Fredericksburg, a couple of yearly camping trips and out-of-state trips once or twice a year. Members also attend monthly meetings, where guest speakers provide helpful information on topics including nutrition, hydration and, most importantly, safety.
“We have a motto of ‘try to leave no one behind,'” explains Jeys. “We give a safety talk before we start off, and each ride usually features a leader and a ‘sweep’ who brings up the rear. We also encourage people to bring their cell phones in case they need help.”
In addition to the great exercise and camaraderie of joining a bicycle club, it is also a good way to give back to the community. HCBTC members participate in a trash pick-up along a two-mile stretch of Government Canyon Park every three months, and each Christmas they donate up to $500 to purchase bikes for disadvantaged children.
For more on the HCBTC as well as links to other local bicycle clubs, visit www.hcbtc.org.