Sound Cyclist Bicycle Club provides organized rides and other cycling related activities for our members and the community, which stress safety, fun and fitness for all levels of riders. We host social activities and the Bloomin' Metric®, one of the northeast's premier cycling events. The club also provides the opportunity for cyclists to improve their riding skills. The club is an advocate of safe cycling in Fairfield County and the State of Connecticut.
|The club's aims have always been to offer well-organized rides, promote a general interest in cycling, provide a cycling-related social forum and encourage safe bicycling. Sound Cyclists Bicycle Club has been around since 1977 and since that time the club has grown to be one of the largest cycling clubs in New England. We invite you to join us and ride with us, meet new people, get plenty of healthy exercise and have lots of fun.|
To become a member of Sound Cyclists, go to the Become a Member page and register online. All members get access to the Members Only section of the club's Web site once they join. Joining online avoids a prolonged processing time for mail-in forms. There is also a $5.00 handling charge when using any mail-in form.
Sound Cyclists promotes safe biking and starts each ride with a brief review of safe riding procedures. All cyclists are required to wear ANSI-, SNELL- or CPSC-approved helmets during any club ride.
Rides are led by experienced volunteer ride leaders. Depending upon the type of ride, it may also have a sweep. A sweep is another volunteer who rides at the back of the group to assist riders who might encounter mechanical problems, become fatigued, or begin to separate from other cyclists. The ride leader may also include regrouping stops at various times along the way depending upon the type of ride.
When you arrive at the advertised meeting place, the ride leader has all participants register by filling out a sign-in waiver form with their name (printed and signed), cell phone number, emergency contact phone number, and license plate number. The leader distributes a cue sheet, which describes the turns in the route, and may also provide a route map if one is available. Before leaving the starting place, the leader discusses safety, which includes reminding people to obey traffic laws and the use of hand signals and vocal warnings. You can read about what is expected of all our riders in regard to safety by reviewing the Road & Trail Rules.
Rides usually meet in commuter parking lots off the Merritt Parkway or I-95 and at other convenient locations, such as schools. The routes are a closed loop, returning to the starting point. Longer rides include a stop where food can be purchased, while shorter rides generally include a break for snacks and may be followed by lunch.
|Types of Rides|
Riders have different objectives for cycling and the club offers all kinds of rides to cover the spectrum. Our faster rides offer something for the more competitive, disciplined rider and may include pacelining or training rides. Our moderately paced rides offer great exercise along with a social element. The slower rides are a great place to start for the up-and-coming cyclists or for those who chose to just tour around. Then there are the rides that go off road and on the trail that offer a combination of challenge and fun.
In addition to the schedule of road rides, Sound Cyclists conducts off-road rides throughout the year. Some of these rides require the use of mountain bikes, while those with hybrid bikes can use their bicycles in areas with milder terrain.
The most popular off-road areas in Fairfield County are the Pequonnock Valley in Trumbull, highlighted by a former railroad bed now converted to a multi-use trail, Huntington State Park in Redding, which has wide trails across varying terrain, and the Mianus River Gorge in Stamford, which offers challenging single-track.
Other popular mountain biking destinations include Macedonia State Park in Kent, the reservoir trails in West Hartford, and Minnewaska State Park Preserve, outside New Paltz, New York.
|Ride Scheduling System|
Sound Cyclists continuously schedules rides throughout the year, with a more extensive schedule in spring, summer and autumn. Ride leaders enter their requests for leading a ride via our Ride Scheduling System. Accessing the Ride Scheduling System by members requires a user name and password furnished to every member when they join.
Cyclists of all abilities are sure to find a pace and a route to suit their tastes. Rides are posted on the system and include the ride name, distance, pace, and terrain. During the height of the cycling season, the club offers weekend rides for almost every ability level. Generally, the faster a ride travels, the further it goes, and the more challenging the terrain.
A typical weekend ride might include any of the following: a 50-mile hilly ride at an A or B pace, a 40-mile rolling, hilly ride at a C+ or C pace, a 20-mile flat to rolling ride at a D-pace or a 10- to 15-mile flat ride at an E-pace. Descriptions for all type rides can be found on the Pace & Terrain page. Some weekends may also include a mountain bike ride, which can vary in difficulty from narrow single-track to flat, wide rail trails.
From May to September, evening rides are general scheduled Monday through Friday evenings, usually taking place after work where people have an opportunity to relax and unwind as they ride at either a brisk pace or a casual pace. Some rides offer a mix of options where they choose to improve their conditioning, while others ride at a more relaxed pace.
The club has a number of ways in which it communicates to its members and the public at-large. Each serves a specific purpose: Web site, newsletter, @Chat, an E-mail forum, and Broadcast E-mail.
The Web site has two areas: general and member-only. The general area has information on the club, online registrations, special events and news, safety information, how riders are categorized, and much more. We invite you to look around the site to learn more.
The Member Login area is set aside for members only. Access to this area requires a user name and password. The log-in information is provided to each member when they join or renew their membership. This information changes twice a year - August 15th and February 15th. The Members Only area is where the Ride Scheduling System is located, along with other member-specific documents.
This E-mail-based forum is the quickest way club officials send out important notices or for members to stay in contact with one another sharing cycling-related information. @Chat follows some simple, straightforward rules and forbids any commercial advertising, flaming or going too far off topic.
Perhaps the most often posted messages are those dealing with ride status. Ride Leaders post last minute messages about rides being canceled due to bad weather. This is why we encourage all members to subscribe to @Chat because receiving messages via your personal E-mail pushes information to you the fastest.
While we recognize that people rather not be inundated with E-mail, there are settings for your account to receive @Chat message postings in different ways. You can receive each message as it is posted, receive one E-mail digest at the end of the day containing all messages posted that day, or chose not to receive any E-mail, where you would need to go into the system to read all messages posted.
Since @Chat is a Yahoo Groups E-mail-based forum, the public has the ability to access it if they so choose. This is why we do not share any sensitive member-specific information on this system. Members should not request nor supply the club's user name and password on @Chat.
For more information on how @Chat works and how to subscribe, just go to the @Chat page.
Every member joining the club and providing an E-mail address qualifies for receiving broadcast E-mails. We try to use discretion in how often we send out club messages so as not to overwhelm the membership with E-mail. It is important that you be on this list so information can be "pushed" to you. If direct links are not provided within these E-mail notices, we often direct you to where you can find the information about which we are notifying you.
In both cases, @Chat and E-mail Broadcasts, a member can unsubscribe from these services at any time but we strongly caution you that if you do so you will be missing out on important information sent out periodically during the course of the year. If you neglect to visit the Web site or read the newsletter often enough, you will see the advantage of @Chat and E-mail Broadcasts pushing information your way.
|Picnics, Weekends, and Special Events|
The club sponsors picnics in July and August, which are preceded by a variety of rides for all ability levels. Picnics offer members an opportunity to relax and socialize after a ride. A nominal fee covers the cost of hot and cold food, as well as non-alcoholic beverages.
The club sponsors weekend trips to scenic regions in surrounding states. Club members may also join together to complete "century" rides of 100 miles offered by other clubs. Particular favorites are The Flattest Century in the East, starting from Tiverton, R.I. and run by the Narragansett Bay Wheelmen, the Tri-State Seacoast Century, starting from Hampton Beach, N.H., run by the Granite State Wheelmen, and the Golden Apple Century, hosted by the Westchester Cycling Club.
Other favorites among Sound Cyclists are special events in which a bicycle trip is combined with another attraction. Popular special club events include the Shelter Island ride, Block Island ride and the weekly concerts at the Levitt Pavilion in Westport.
The third Sunday in May, Sound Cyclists hosts the Bloomin' Metric Bicycle Tour, the largest and most popular bicycle tour in Connecticut, which annually attracts almost 3,000 cyclists. This is a 'Rain or Shine' event. Once you register a spot is reserved for you. There are no refunds or transfers of registrations.
The Bloomin' Metric offers cyclists a choice of 25-mile, 75-kilometer and 100-kilometer routes. For an entry fee, riders receive a map and cue sheet, follow a route marked by arrows, and stop for cookies, fresh fruit, and gourmet PBJ sandwiches at food stops, where they can also drink water and energy beverages.
Routes are patrolled by "sag wagons," driven by experienced cyclists who can offer assistance with mechanical difficulty or give a ride to a tired cyclist.
The Bloomin' Metric takes place during the height of the dogwood and azalea blooming season in the spring. This is where the event's name was derived. It leads riders along the shorelines and beaches and through the tree-lined watersheds of Fairfield County. Portion of the proceeds are usually donated to a charity.
|Annual Meeting/Volunteer Appreciation|
The club conducts an annual meeting in early December. For the price of a meal, riders have the opportunity to socialize in what many cyclists consider the off-season. At the dinner, the club recognizes the volunteers who made events possible that year and elects officers and directors to run the club the following year.
The club sponsors two events to thank the volunteers who make the club possible. The Volunteer Appreciation Party usually takes place in June and honors the efforts of all volunteers, particularly those who run the Bloomin' Metric and members involved with the day-to-day running of the club. The Ride Leader Appreciation Dinner usually takes place in February or March and thanks all the members who lead or sweep rides during the year.
The club depends on volunteer members to plan and run all events. These tasks range from the scheduling and leading of rides, organizing the Bloomin' Metric or helping out at club picnics. We encourage all members to volunteer, which is also an ideal way to make friends.
|Bicycle Shop Program|
Many local bicycle stores participate in the Bicycle Shop Program. Most of these shops offer members a 10 percent discount on non-sale accessories and clothing, and some shops offer special pricing on bicycles. A list of participating retailers and a description of the discounts they offer are listed in the newsletter and posted on the Web site.
Sound Cyclists is affiliated with the League of American Bicyclists, the largest and oldest national bicycling organization in the United States. The league was established to protect the rights and interests of bicyclists and to serve as a nationwide network of affiliated bicycle clubs. Contact the league at www.bikeleague.org
Sound Cyclists is also a member of the Connecticut Bicycle Coalition, a statewide bicycling advocacy organization involved in public education, legislation, and the promotion of the sport of cycling within Connecticut.
|The SCBC By-Laws|
Sound Cyclists Bicycle Club is very well structured and follows specific guidelines expressed in its By-Laws. If you would like to access the Sound Cyclists Bicycle Club By-Laws, we have provided that information for you. Just click on the button and a copy of the By-Laws will download to your computer.