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AABTS FAQ

 

Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring Society (AABTS) is a road (and sometimes mountain) biking club that’s been around for more than 30 years. We have over 500 members and offer rides starting in both Ann Arbor and Plymouth. Our riders are at all different levels, so as long as you have some road riding experience, you should have no trouble finding someone who rides at your same pace.

We would love to have you come out to join us for a ride. We have several options of times, day and start locations in both Ann Arbor and Plymouth. Feel free to just show up for a scheduled ride. If you announce yourself as new, the ride leader will make sure you know the route and have someone to ride with. View our current ride calendar to find a ride that fits your schedule.


Hope to see you on the road!


Are you accepting new riders?
AABTS is always accepting new riders, so please come out and join us! We always try to make sure new riders have a club member to ride with. Just let the ride leader know you're new to the group.

Do I have to be a member to join a ride?
You do not have to be a member to participate in any of our club rides. However, we do ask that you sign our release form and always wear a helmet.

Do I need to pre-register for club rides?
You do not need to pre-register for the regular weekly rides or the special club rides and events. The invitational rides generally do require registration. The details will be noted on the ride calendar. It's not necessary to plan in advance what ride you'll do. Feel free to just show up to any scheduled club ride.

What is the typical skill level of an AABTS rider?
Our riders are at all different levels. We’re a great club for both experienced and beginning riders. Because we’re a large, diverse club, new riders should have no trouble finding someone who rides at your same pace. Each ride is identified with a level indicator A, B, or C. See below for what these levels mean.

What is the typical age of an AABTS rider?
Our club members are at all different ages. Truth be known, we’re mostly middle-aged or retired, but you’d never know it by how we look in our bike clothes! Seriously, we have a wide age range from 30-something up to 70+.

How fast does everyone ride?
Each ride is identified with a level indicator A, B, or C. The pace is anywhere from 9 to 18+. The Ann Arbor weekday rides may be a slightly slower pace. The morning rides (mostly retirees) tend to be slower paced than the evening. The Saturday morning ride from Wheeler Park in Ann Arbor is the largest group with the most variation in speed.

How many miles is a typical ride?
Typical miles per ride: 20-35 week nights; 30-100+ weekends. See our ride calendar for details on individual rides.

How are club rides organized?
All weekly and special club rides have an assigned "ride leader". Look for the person with the ride sign-in sheet, or ask the group who the leader is for a specific ride. The leader will ask you to sign our release form and pair you up with someone who knows the route and who rides at a similar pace.

Does the group ride in a pace line?
Our rides have a flexible format. Sometimes the group will decide to ride in a pace line, other times the group will be more spread out. We don’t mandate the format except we ask that you stay as close to the side of the road as possible, depending on road conditions. Always be aware of traffic and the other riders around you. Although Michigan law stipulates cyclist can ride two abreast, please use caution and good judgment based on traffic volume and the number of other riders.

How do I find a club ride?
Go to our ride calendars and events page and select the current ride calendar link. The calendar is divided into sections: Special club rides and events, Ann Arbor area weekly rides, Plymouth area weekly rides, and Invitational rides. Choose a ride that fits your schedule. Plan to arrive at the start location about 15 minutes early suited up and ready to ride. Announce to the group that you're new. The ride leader will ask you to sign our release form and pair you up with someone who knows the route and who rides at a similar pace.

What do the ride level indicators mean?
Each ride is identified with a level indicator A, B, or C. The levels are generally defined as:
  • Level A – 18+ mph, 30-100+ miles
  • Level B – 14-18 mph, 25-75 miles
  • Level C – 9-13 mph, 10-25 miles
What rides draw the largest group?
The Saturday morning Dexter Breakfast Ride in Ann Arbor, starting from Wheeler Park, draws the largest group of all the rides.

What entrance/location at Wheeler Park do you customarily meet?
At Wheeler Park, the group usually collects around the pavilion. The park is a small area bordering Depot St and N. Fourth Ave. You'll see the pavilion once you get near the park area.

When does the club start riding?
The official season starts and ends with the Daylight Savings time change. For more information, view our ride calendars and events page. The ride locations and times tend to be the same year over year.

How does the club track miles?
Each club ride has an assigned leader and a ride sheet. At the start, all riders log the number of miles they intend to ride on the sheet. If you're not sure how far you’ll go, you sign in with an “X” and notify the leader after the ride how far you went. The leader sends the completed ride sheets to a designated mileage coordinator. Miles are recorded and uploaded to our web site on a regular basis. Accumulated mileage can be viewed on our mileage page.

Does the club give mileage awards?
Every year the club designs a mileage patch that is given to all members who log at least 500 club miles in that year. We also present awards to the top 3 mileage holders in both men’s and women’s categories. Awards are presented at the spring potluck.

Do I get any credit for commuter miles?
Club members who commute via bicycle can also track their miles on our web site. For more information visit the mileage page.

What rides are beginner friendly?
If you're a beginner, look for rides that have a "C" level designation and optionally a separate "C" ride leader. Also look for terms like "newcomer" or "no drop ride" in the description. Feel free to call the rider leader for more information. It's a good idea to have some road riding experience before coming out to join us.

Does the club have regular meetings that newcomers can attend?
Because we love our bicycles, we consider the road to be our regular meeting place. The best way to get involved with our club is to show up for a scheduled club ride.

Do I need to bring anything besides my bike?
We do require that everyone wear a helmet on all our club rides. We also recommend that you have at least one full water bottle. Depending on how far you’re planning to ride, you may want to carry one or more light snacks with you. 
It's a good idea to always have a spare inner tube, a small pump, and tire levers. You might also want to attach a red taillight.

What kind of bike is recommended for club rides?
Our group generally rides road bikes with smooth, skinny tires. There are a few who ride hybrids with slightly wider smooth tires. Bicycling Magazine offers a lot of great advice on buying a bike. Here's one example from their web site: Bike Buying Tips.

Where should I go to shop for a bike?
We maintain a list of area bike shops who offer discounts to AABTS members.

How can I find bike routes in the area?
Visit our maps page for information on some of the routes we ride.

There's also a book written by one of our members and published in 2009 with bike friendly roads in Washtenaw County. Washtenaw County Bike Rides: A Guide to Road Rides in and around Ann Arbor.  

Latest update, 2/13/11