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ABOUT THE CYCLING CLUB

VARSITY Youth Cycling Club is the "Youth" arm of Valley Spokesmen Bicycle Club, currently operating under the Valley Spoksemen Racing Team.

ARE MOUNTAIN BIKES DANGEROUS?

Forget what you’ve seen on TV with the X-Games. In cross-country bike races, the average speed is usually around ten to twelve miles per hour. This is an endurance sport where fitness and skill are more important than risk taking. Statistically, we suffer fewer serious injuries than most other mainstream sports, especially contact sports. We do our best to minimize the risks to your athlete. Risky behaviors are discouraged or forbidden, a helmet rule is strictly enforced and we teach each athlete bike-control skills to minimize the risk of crashing. After all, if you crash you not only risk injury but you also miss out on the fun riding with your friends. Even with our best efforts, crashes and injuries can occur. Coaches are trained in concussion assessment, and CPR. Coaches carry first aid kits and athlete medical information during group rides. Coaches and ride volunteers carry cell phones. Athletes never ride alone.

HOW DO I JOIN?

There is no commitment involved in joining a VARSITY group ride, other than signing a liability waiver. We encourage but do not require families with VARSITY athletes to join VSBC (the Valley Spokesmen Bicycle Club). VSBC membership gives you discounts at the local Trek bike shops and the opportunity to join other club events. Joining the club involves paying a nominal fee ($40 annually, as of 2023) and filling out some forms which are linked here: https://www.valleyspokesmen.org/page-1818761

VARSITY has a club kit (i.e. custom designed cycling jersey and padded cycling shorts). Members are not required to purchase the kit but may do so. To learn more about how to purchase a kit, email VARSITY leadership at: vsrt@vsracingteam.org.  Kit can be purchased through our Hyperthreads Team Store.

WHAT DO I NEED?

  • Bike 

    • in good working order with all-terrain tires at least 1 inch wide. If you are unsure if your bike is in working condition, you can bring it to a local bicycle repair shop for a safety check.

  • Helmet

    • Riders must wear a helmet any time they are riding or have a leg over the bike. The helmet should be correctly sized and adjusted to the rider’s head. There are a variety of great helmets on the market. The right one for your rider will be comfortable on their head and not move at all.

  • Appropriate attire

    • Wear a comfortable shirt or jersey and layers for weather. We encourage kids to wear cycling shorts (aka “chamois”) for comfort, but it is not required. Kids chamois can be purchased online or in shops that carry youth products (e.g. REI, Sports Basement). Here are some examples of a basic suitable chamois: EXAMPLE 1   EXAMPLE 2. VARSITY also has a ‘team kit’. It is not required for participation- you can purchase a cycling jersey, shorts, or both (also available for adults): LINK(soon).

    • We also encourage kids to wear gloves, and knee pads or high socks. These items provide a protective layer from the ground if there is a fall.

    • We encourage kids to wear cycling glasses or sunglasses- one of the most common minor injuries while cycling is getting sand or dirt in your eye, especially when riding in a group- or even simply getting dry eyes from the wind. An example of cycling glasses can be found here: LINK.

    • Closed toe shoes.

    • No open toed shoes or sandals. No loose items of clothing that may tangle in bicycle chain, spokes, tire, or other moving parts of the bicycle (for example, a sweatshirt around your child’s waist would get caught in the rear wheel, causing a crash).

  • Nutrition

    • Bring a water bottle or hydration pack and food – enough for 1.5 hours. For example, usually a banana and a protein/granola bar is just about right.

    • It is our goal that everyone stay safe and have fun, and making sure we’ve all had enough to eat and drink for our rides is a big part of that. 

  • Repair kit

    • Each rider should have a pack made up with at least one spare tire tube for their particular size of tire and a method to inflate that tire. Other ideas for items to keep in their packs are: tire levers, a bicycle multi-tool, a small portable bike pump or a CO2 cartridge/inflator.

  • A good attitude

    • Participants must act with respect for themselves and others. We are committed to safety, and require each rider to ride in a safe and controlled manner. Riders who repeatedly flaunt our safety rules or engage in behaviors that present unnecessary risk to themselves or others will not be allowed to participate.

  • It is our goal that no kid interested in joining a VARSITY ride will be denied participation due to a lack of resources. We are working on getting a small fleet of loaner bikes and helmets, so that kids without their own bikes and helmets can check out a VARSITY bike to use during a group ride. In the meantime, email <vsrt@vsracingteam.org> if your child wants to join a group ride but needs to borrow some equipment and we will do our best to accommodate you.

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