Community in Sport

Community in Sport

The modern world makes it easy for people to feel isolated, as the rise of individualism has replaced a lot of traditional community structures. This makes it difficult for people to form new friendships and to create significant support systems around them. Historically, sport has been a great way to bring people together and to create new communities. Despite the world’s recent shift in focus towards individualism, sport remains a great opportunity to unite people and forge new connections. With the renewed interest in cycling over recent years, joining a local cycling club or bike group is an easy and accessible way to get out, get active and be part of something bigger. It can be a great way to connect with others who share a similar interest and form a strong bond with a team of likeminded people.

But where do you start?

ven If you’re an experienced cyclist, it can feel overwhelming to try and find the cycling club that is the right fit for you. Here we’ll take a look at the different types of groups available, how to go about finding local groups in your area and what to look for in order to find the one that’s the perfect fit for you.

Group cycling

Leisure

Many people are interested in cycling as a leisure activity, rather than in a competitive environment. Leisure cycling can take many different forms, including rides of just a few hours, one day round trips or longer touring holidays lasting days or even weeks. This is perhaps one of the most relaxed, social ways of cycling with a group as there are no prizes for who gets to the finish line first. Instead, leisure cycling is more about enjoying the scenery, tackling interesting geographical features by bike and stopping for a chat and a bite to eat at the halfway point. Accomplishing a substantial ride or even a tour with your group gives you an experience to remember and bonds you all together through your shared memories.

Cycle race in the Dolomites

Audax and Sportive

If you’re in the market for something more challenging, you could join a cycling club that participates in Audax and Sportive cycling. Audax is regulated long distance cycling where participants cover a prescribed distance within a set time limit. Although there are still no prizes for coming first, success comes from completing the event on time. Audax cyclists ride together in groups with the pace set by their captain.

Sportives, or cyclosportives, are mass participation cycling events with a slightly more competitive atmosphere. Many participants do approach them like a race and compete to get the fastest completion time for the course. However, many others simply enjoy the experience, instead aiming just to stay within the upper time limit for their particular event.

Both Audax and Sportive cycling is a great way to get involved with a large and rewarding sporting event. Taking part can take you all over the world and gives you the chance to meet people from many different walks of life. Completion of an event also gives you a tangible sense of success and a personal best that you can aim to beat next time.

Cycling through the Alps

Mountain Biking and Off-road

Thrillseekers may consider joining a mountain biking or off-roading club, where there is more opportunity to tackle demanding and sometimes dangerous rides with your fellow cyclists. The combination of rough terrain, jumps and downhill riding can be exhilarating and undertaking such daunting rides with your club mates can fuel a close connection. Dependant on just how daring you are, you could end up travelling to places like closed ski resorts or specialised mountain biking tracks to experience the best rides. However, if there is a local mountain biking group in your area, chances are that they know some beautiful places to try out that are nearby.

Taking part in different sporting activities as part of a group is an ideal way to meet new people, make new friendships and socialise in a comfortable atmosphere. However, you don’t even need to take part in the activity to reap these benefits. International sporting events still offer the same advantages of inclusivity, community spirit and being a part of the bigger picture. The FIFA World Cup is a good example of a sporting event that brings people together all over the globe. During the tournament you can join others to watch the game, win with your team and celebrate every victory.

This feeling of ‘all being in it together’ is strong in other events too, like the Tour de France. It’s easy to identify with a team in such international events as most people start off supporting their home country. However, there’s no pressure to stop there; people remain involved even after their country is knocked out, supporting other teams dependent on how likely they are to win, the sportspeople involved or just because they have a personal fondness for that country.

Whilst joining a local cycling club is a great way to foster face-to-face friendships and keep you active, it’s worth pursuing all avenues of sport in order to find your own community. Whether you decide to join your club for a leisurely ride once a month, enter a challenging race with your team or simply watch from the sidelines with your fellow supporters, sport can help you to feel like a full member of society. So, what are you waiting for?