Welcome to bike racing 101. Here we’ll cover topics on how to get started racing! You may be nervous, excited or even unsure. That’s ok! We’re here to help you.
Whether you’re interested in mountain bike racing, cyclocross racing, road racing or track racing, there are some common elements to getting involved.
The first step is to ask questions! (and lots of them) Do you have friends who race? Talk to them. Stop by your local bike shop and talk with them. Stop by an event in your area and talk to folks. Your most valuable resource is our amazing community. We all share a passion for bike racing and we love to share.
If there are clinics related to the type of bike racing you would like to do- take advantage of the opportunity! We have a number of great coaches in the community who can impart knowledge and training tips. For women’s cycling, we are lucky to have the “Let’s Race Bikes” program. Run by volunteers, this group of amazing women mentor and help women get into bicycle racing. If you want to try track racing, there are special Wednesday night development classes with track bikes available for rent.
Teams in OBRA are also great resources. Many teams host meet the team rides in the late fall into early winter to recruit new members. You can still meet teams on your own but this is a great way to meet a number of members at once! Teams are a critical component of racing. It’s not just about putting on a team kit, but it’s a support network. You create friendships – people that you can hang out with at events, mentors, friends you can commiserate or celebrate with after a race and friends you can ride with.
Health and bike checks
Are you in good enough shape? Check in with your doctor to make sure you don’t have any medical conditions that would preclude you from racing or could present a danger.
Oregon Bicycle Racing Rule 7.2.3– All clothing and equipment will be in good repair and reasonably clean at the start.
Is your bike growing moss? Is your bike ghost shifting? Or is your wheel wobbling like a bowl full of jello? When was the last time you had your bicycle checked? Stop by your local bike shop and have your bike checked for safety!
Never ride untested equipment. If you have a new bike, new wheels or new components, make sure you ride them a couple times before coming to the race. There’s nothing worse than having to make adjustments at the race venue or having a piece of equipment malfunction.
Do you have big tears in your bike shorts or are your bike shorts so worn that you can see “things” that we really don’t want to? Or perhaps your shoes and clips are so old they’re about to fall apart… It’s time to invest in some new clothes and shoes.
Get a Road ID. Whether you’re just riding or racing it’s always important to carry some sort of identification.
An important note that we cannot stress enough- make sure you have health insurance! Bike racing does carry risks! Just as in any sport (triathlons, running, football, soccer, basketball, etc.) injuries do happen. While most injuries are limited to road rash and stitches, there is always a potential for death, serious injury or property loss. OBRA and the promoters do not provide insurance coverage for injuries and equipment loss that occur at the race! We also encourage racers to purchase an accident insurance policy through companies like Adventure Advocates.
Familiarize yourself with the rules. There won’t be a test but it’s good to be familiar with the racing rules. The last thing you want is to show up at an event and find out that your bike, equipment or clothing disqualifies you from racing.