Tuesday Night Gravel - Board of Directors Response

To our valued members,

Recently there has been a great deal of discussion in this forum post about polling intermediate/fast gravel riders about their preferred evening to ride. The board of directors has been following this thread and have also had a long conversation about the importance of the Tuesday night road ride, our members and their preferences.

As many advocates of Tuesday road, aka the Bamberg ride, have pointed out it is a staple club road ride that has been around for decades although it has taken different forms through the years from a ride with multiple loops as Steve mentioned, to the classic Bamberg laps and in more recent years it switched to a longer touring route once the summer started.

The classic Bamberg ride is indeed important for teaching race craft in groups 1 and 2. In the other groups you learn how to work together over challenging terrain to complete the laps as quickly and efficiently as possible with the odd sprint for fun and games. It’s a unique ride compared to our others and we should be encouraging members to come out and try it.

How do we do that?

Look no further than Alain’s posts encouraging others and sharing his experience. He’s the ultimate cheerleader for any given ride he attends. Sharing stories and communication at other rides and in the club forum is vital to attracting new riders to any ride. He also purposefully shepherds new riders along, often falling back to ride with them or instruct a new group.

Some evenings new and inexperienced members show up to Tuesday road and they need guidance and encouragement. In the past we’ve had leaders in charge of the various groups, and at times ride leaders have sacrificed riding with their usual group and instead gone out with the newer members regardless of their pace. Teaching members how to work together as a group over challenging terrain is important to their enjoyment of Bamberg. Without guidance many inexperienced groups will split apart and end up riding in ones and twos short distances apart.

We also communicate about our rides to our new members at Learn to Group Ride Orientation and our amazing leaders at Learn to Group Ride are asked to talk to our new club members about the different club rides and to encourage them to give the various rides a try to see where they fit in within our wonderful club/community.

What the board will do to help build Tuesday road attendance.

  • Encourage Faction athletes to attend
  • Appeal to KWCA athletes as they age out of that program and see Tuesday’s as a way to keep their racing fitness

All of that being said, is the Tuesday Bamberg ride the only ride in the club that teaches race craft or group riding skills and helps to attract/retain members? No. Historically it is an important ride for the club, but no one ride defines us, we are a broad community with many different preferences. Starting around 2018 Bamberg switched to touring for the summer and the clubs Learn to Crit Race/Crit Training ride started up on the same night, as that happened everyone that wanted to focus on race craft and group riding skills went to the crit ride and anyone that still attended Tuesday road went touring. Thursday nights is another important ride for the fast groups when it comes to group riding skills and race craft but in its own special way over the classic Fergus Loop.


A decline in attendance at one ride isn’t the cause of a decrease in membership nor is the increase in ride options we provide. In 2019 and the years before the club did have a larger membership and the majority of them focused on road, more people raced and participated in Tuesday nights. In the years since the pandemic our membership numbers have been lower, but most of the pace groups (rec, intermediate, fast ) have been steadily increasing to similar numbers except for race, or those that identify in the fastest groups. This isn’t specific to our club, it’s happened across most clubs and road racing has seen a decline in participation to say the least. This isn’t because of anything specific ours or other clubs did, those that are the fastest invest the most time and energy into their fitness. Some of these people lost interest during the pandemic, had their priorities and time constraints change (kids!), or just aged out so to speak. Building membership and interest doesn’t happen overnight or even over a year. It takes many years and we’re steadily on our way.

How do we grow the club, attract and retain new members? Provide ride options that reflect our members needs, help to develop/support ride leaders and create an inviting, inclusive and friendly community. At the end of the day we’re all people who love riding our bikes together and we’re passionate about it as this thread proves.

To those points, here are the club’s vision and mission statements.

Vision: The Waterloo Cycling Club strives to create an inclusive, engaged community of cyclists, from recreational riders through elite racers, in all disciplines.

Mission: The club endeavors to create multiple opportunities at all levels for club members to participate in organized rides and events, races and community leadership in the Waterloo Region: Ride, Race, Lead.

Ultimately we are driven and run by our members. Everything that happens in the club is thanks to volunteer work. Our members are the lifeblood of our club and our ride leaders are the beating heart, without their constant effort over many years we wouldn’t have as many amazing and quality rides as we do. We are unique in Ontario, and likely elsewhere, and offer a wide range of paces and disciplines.

Over the years the club has changed and we’re better for it.

This thread started with a gravel ride leader polling potential intermediate and fast gravel riders to see what night would work best for their ride. To be clear, the potential Tuesday gravel ride will be a fast/intermediate ride but it is not replacing Wednesday night gravel. Wednesday will still happen and will welcome all pace groups.

Gravel has grown in popularity everywhere, as Alex noted gravel bikes are the number one seller and it’s great that these bikes are just as good on the road with a tire change. We have a bunch of members that only ride gravel and it’s important for them to be able to structure their week as demand dictates.

Yes, some members will have to choose between rides on Tuesday nights. We wouldn’t encourage a similar road ride to take place on the same night as another, but gravel is a different discipline and different ride culture. Having a gravel ride on Tuesday won’t ruin Bamberg. Limiting other member’s options in a different discipline isn’t the way to grow any club ride. Many people have spoken up in favour of Tuesday night road. Take that enthusiasm, volunteer to lead group 2, 3 etc., share stories in the forum in Tuesday ride posts and you’ll keep building attendance on Tuesdays over time.

Sincerely, your Board of Directors


Good response. :+1:

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