Whether you are new to cycling or an experienced rider, Team Alameda welcomes your participation in our group rides.
We offer a variety of road rides departing Alameda on Saturdays and Sundays and most Tuesdays and Thursdays (check ride calendar first!) — from introductory casual group rides on flat terrain to challenging, moderate- to fast-paced rides over very hilly terrain throughout the East Bay and beyond.
Rides vary in distance from 15 miles to over 100 miles, with most falling in between, generally from 25 to 65 miles. Ride descriptions and ratings can be found in the Ride Routes area and the ride schedule can be found on the Team Alameda Ride Calendar.
Most rides are "no drop" rides (we re-group periodically to allow everyone to catch up with faster riders and ensure no one gets lost), unless otherwise posted as a "drop" ride (you have to be able to keep up, or know the route on your own).
Most rides are designed for road bikes on paved roads, unless specifically stated otherwise (some rides are off-road, requiring mountain bikes; some Sunday introductory rides are suitable for almost any type of bike).
Advance sign-up is not required for weekly rides — just show up, sign the ride sheet, and ride.
On occasion, club members arrange car pools in advance or take BART to other locations (such as San Francisco, Marin, the Peninsula, Mt. Diablo, or Mt. Hamilton) or participate in events organized by other clubs or charitable groups. Such rides vary in distance generally from 35 to 200 miles, with some multi-day or overnight events.
While Team Alameda is not a "racing club," members do like to challenge each other at times, in the spirit of fitness, friendship and fun. At all times, however, we emphasize safety — for yourself and for those around you. To that end, we occasionally cancel or shorten planned rides due to wet roads, dense fog or extreme heat. Generally, but not always, a 30% chance of rain will cancel a ride, as will wet roads. The individual ride leader makes the decision, with the option of starting the ride later instead of cancelling. (Cancellations may be posted at the last minute, so be sure to check the website before departing home).
Safety: To help ensure a safe and fun ride for everyone, a Ride Leader is designated on all rides, and many will have a co-Ride Leader as well. For new or unfamiliar routes (especially "away" rides), we may provide a detailed route sheet. We also provide periodic training in safety, bike maintenance, technical skills (including descending and pacelining) and ride leading.
Of course, safety is everyone's responsibility. Each rider must therefore ensure that he/she is properly prepared with required equipment (see below); has a bicycle in good working order; knows the basics of handling a bike; and has a good concept of his/her own fitness level and overall health. Each rider should also understand the ride ratings (see below) to avoid choosing a ride that is much too easy or much too difficult. Be sure to ask for information and guidance, challenge yourself, and choose a suitable ride in view of your condition, weather conditions, and time constraints. You (and those around you) will have a fun — and safe — ride as a result. If in doubt, be conservative at first; you can always take on more later.
We ask all riders to observe our rules and conditions, and to familiarize themselves with the hand and verbal signals listed below. All riders must be members. You may try us as a guest first (our insurance policy will cover one guest ride; thereafter, please join). Yearly dues are $25. Membership includes insurance coverage, and many local merchants offer discounts for members. Check our website for more details, forms, and related information.
Download our ride policies document as a pdf to read offline.
Required to Ride
Now that you see what we can offer you, here is what we require of all who ride with us. Some of it may strike you as common sense, but when you look around and see all the people riding through traffic after dark, in dark clothing, with no lights and no helmet, yakking into a cell phone or listening to an iPod, you'll understand why we include such items here. Other items are conventional rules of the road to live by (and to ensure we all live to ride again). Finally, other items address safe group riding in particular.
- Road bike properly sized for you, in good working condition (brakes work; tires are properly inflated and in good shape; no bent/broken spokes; etc.)
- Helmet (ANSI or SNELL approved)
- Identification and emergency contact information
- Spare tube and patch kit
- Pump or CO2 cartridges
- Water (for longer rides: energy drinks and/or food)
- Tail light (for low-light conditions, fog, etc.)
Strongly Recommended Equipment
- Head light
- Bright clothing
- Rear-view mirror
- Cell phone
- Cash or credit card (for food, beverages, coffee, or emergencies)
Rules of the Road
- Ride defensively; anticipate and signal problems, obstacles, and unsafe conditions.
- Be aware of your own surroundings at all times ("situational awareness").
- Be visible; wear bright clothing and use a taillight and headlight. Riders project a very slim profile to drivers up front and behind – visibility is critical to survival!
- Ride in the designated bike lane or as far right as safely possible (watching for car doors, perpendicular parking, and other hazards).
- Ride single file in traffic; two abreast is permitted when traffic allows (cyclists have the right to use the roadways, but not to impede other traffic).
- Always maintain sufficient distance from other riders to ensure safe stopping in emergencies (wet/slick spot, sudden obstruction, etc.).
- Be prepared for full stops at red lights and stop signs; obey vehicle traffic rules.
- Keep both hands on handlebars at all times, unless you need to signal, drink water, or perform another essential task – and only do them if you can do so safely.
- Signal your intentions audibly, and with hand signals if safe to do so (passing, slowing, turning, moving in/out of single file, etc.); it is critical that those around you know what you intend to do before you do it. Surprise no one!
- Pass only on the left, unless conditions permit you no choice (and always call out when passing).
- No stunt riding, hot-dogging, and other acts more suitable for Demolition Derby, Monster Energy Moto-Cross, or Evil Knievel Reality TV.
- Respect other riders and motor vehicles by riding safely and demonstrating your awareness of them and concern for their safety as well.
We make every effort to support fun, safe rides for various ability levels and interests. Your participation and contributions to that end are welcome.
All riders must be members (you may ride with us once before joining). We reserve the right to deny membership (including canceling membership) and/or ride participation for any of the following reasons: inadequate or unsafe equipment (no helmet, no brakes, etc); lack of basic bike handling/maneuvering skills; illness or obvious poor health; and unsafe behavior. Ride Leaders plan routes, organize, assist, mentor and handle problems. If you have a concern, question, problem or see an unsafe condition or rider, talk to the Ride Leader. Ride Leaders reserve the right to cancel rides, change routes, suggest alternative rides, and, if warranted for safety or health reasons, preclude a rider from participation.
While we generally don't "drop" riders, faster riders occasionally drop us. We don't want to hold back faster riders on group rides — but we ask that they let the ride leader know they intend to split off for a different ride before they do so (we like to be able to account for everyone at ride's end). Note that if a rider gets too far ahead without knowing the planned route and thus gets separated from the group, we say "off the front - on your own." On the other hand, we know that the up-and-coming new rider is eager to improve and ride with a faster and/or longer group. If you are a new rider, please take into account how your own ability and pace is going to impact the pace and number of re-groups experienced by the other riders. If you are unsure if a ride is right for you, please ask the ride leader for advice. The ride leader will look at your bike, ask how many miles you usually ride and how much hill climbing you normally do, then will offer an assessment. If the ride leader steers you to a less demanding ride, please cheerfully accept the advice, knowing you have been spared an ordeal. If you find the ride you join not demanding enough, then by all means crank it up the next time.
We ride year-round. However, wet roads generally (not always) cancel rides. Individual Ride Leaders make the call.
Have fun, stay safe. Accumulate friendships, memories and miles!
Finally, we encourage members to become Ride Leaders. We provide training and assistance, you get to choose new routes or lead standard rides, and you can earn credit toward our ride-leading incentive program. Plus, it's fun! Volunteer now!
Ride Ratings = Hilliness / Pace / Mileage
Hilliness is described by a number, 1-5. 1 being flat terrain, 5 being steep hills.
Pace is described by a letter, A-D. A is slow pace 8-10 mph, D is fast pace 16+ mph.
Mileage is the approximate mileage of the entire ride.
Example: 3/C/35 = Moderately hilly; 12-14 mph average pace; approximately 35 miles
1 / 0-2 % - Essentially flat / All Alameda, Marina rides
2 / 2-6 % - A Few Low Hills / Montclair Peets, Domingo Peets rides
3 / 6-8 % - Moderately Hilly / Tunnel, Skyline, Redwood, Butters Canyon
4 / 6-12 % - Very Hilly / Three Bears, Pinehurst, Snake Rd., Claremont
5 / 12+ % - Extremely Hilly / Marin, Vollmer, Hiller, Thorndale, Ascot, Donald Dr.
A / 8 -10 mph / Easy Pace, frequent stops, good for new riders
B / 10-12 mph / Steady Pace, fewer stops, for experienced riders
C / 12-14 mph / Steady faster pace, most century riders are this pace
D / 14-16+ mph / Fast pace, for strong experienced riders, maybe one stop
Group Ride Safety Signals
Below are the commonly-used hand and audible (verbal) safety signals to use while riding with a group. Be familiar with these, and use them!
|EVENT / CONDITION
||Open palm down
||Slow, prepare to stop
||Hand down in fist
||L arm straight out
||Turn safely (check R/L)
||R arm straight out or L arm out with hand up
||Turn safely (ditto)
|Hazard in road
||Point to it
||"Hole, Glass," etc.
||Avoid hazard (but beware of other riders and traffic!)
||Hand down, palm open rearward, waving
||Slow; cross at 90-degree angle
|Vehicle in front
||Point to oncoming vehicle, curb, car door, etc.
||Allow room / eyes front
||Single file; allow passing
||Point to vehicle
||"Car left" / "Car right"
||Proceed safely; be prepared to stop
|Pedestrian in front
||"Walker [runner] up"
||Move safely beyond, following lead rider
||"On your left" / "On your right"
||Check traffic first; call out clearly; allow ample room to pass; pass on R only as last resort
||Beware; ride on Light change, gate up, etc.
|Ride is continuing (from stop)
||Proceed with caution; call out if vehicle appears; ride on (safely)