Sunday, March 4, 2018

FWD Group Ride 101

The concept of joining a group ride for the first time can seem very intimidating, especially if you are newer to the world of cycling. We hope this list of tips and tricks will help you feel more confident in joining one of our group rides in the future!

Quick links:

What to do before you join a ride-
Have your local bike shop assess the bike to make sure it is appropriate for the group ride you wish to attend. All of our FWD rides are off-road focused, and if your bike is an upright hybrid, it will not be suitable for use during our group rides.

If you are planning to use your own bike or you wish for your children to attend any of our Mother/Daughter/Son rides, please bring the bike(s) in ahead of time to have them gone through mechanically. We want everyone, youth and adult, to have a positive experience on our rides. If you  haven't had your bike dialed in mechanically for several seasons, it's likely time. Please not bring your bike in the day of the ride and expect it to be tuned up on the spot! Plan ahead and have your bike(s) gone through before the first scheduled ride that you wish to attend.

Bikes being used on our rides should have functioning shifters/brakes, brake pads that are not worn out, straight wheels, and tires that are not skidded off. Safety is our #1 priority, and if your bike does not meet the criteria of being a safe bike, Decorah Bicycles will supply you with a bike for that ride.

Decorah Bicycles has off-road bikes available for a reduced rental fee of $20 plus tax. This is an excellent way of trying out a new, updated mountain bike.

Have your FWD ride waiver signed for yourself and your children if they are attending. If you do not bring a signed waiver or if you have not emailed a signed waiver- you will fill one out before leaving on the ride.

What you need-
Your ride waiver (which is good for the year!)
A positive attitude!
Hydration (all of our rental bikes have water bottle cages installed.)
A snack (you never know when you might "bonk.")
Lightweight gloves, either fingerless or full-finger. (Preferably full-finger.)
Comfortable clothes that are easy to ride in. Any athletic wear will do. Keep in mind that padded cycling shorts will benefit you more than yoga tights. Clothing that is lightweight and wicking is of benefit.
Sunscreen/Bug spray.
If you are a FWD Member you will want your member card or wrist band for post-ride refreshments.

What you should do-
Please show up before the designated start time, especially if you need to be outfitted with a bike. Getting you set up on a rental bike takes time (about 10 minutes or so) and if we have multiple to set up, it takes even more time.

We meet in the Decorah Bicycles parking lot unless otherwise specified. If the ride is scheduled before or after business hours, our front door will be locked. We ask folks attending to come to the back door, which will be unlocked. You'll have access for last minute purchases, restroom usage, etc.

We are doing our best to stick with a structured schedule with a definite start/end time, and if you show up at 5 p.m. when we're just about to leave, that puts a delay on the ride and makes the overall ride end early. We want riders to show up at least 10-15 minutes early so we can collect waivers, get riders set up, and talk about our ride itinerary.

What to expect- 
We will give a general overview of the ride once we know who is attending. Rides focused for newer riders and skill-building will have some pointers given and practice time before we hit the trails. Depending on the ride, we may also work on some skill building during the ride.

All regularly scheduled rides are listed under the FWD Rides tab. They list departure/end times, pace, and rider level they are suited for. If you have questions you are always welcome to email

Sunday and Wednesday p.m. rides will come back to Decorah Bicycles to drop off bikes that were rented out before heading to Pulpit Rock.

FWD Members must have their card or bracelet on their person to qualify for their beer perk.

Other tips/suggestions-
There are a couple different ways to keep up-to-date on FWD Rides and Events.

We will update and post any event changes or notices on our website:
We will update and post any event changes or notices on our Event pages/Facebook page.
We will send out an email to those on the mailing list. If you wish to be added to the list, send your request to

Keep in mind, if a ride is scheduled to be held on a day when the bike shop is closed or if it's before/after business hours, you will not be able to call and check the status of the ride.

We will do our best to get updates out on our media platforms at least 2 hours before the ride would be scheduled to start.

Most importantly-
Our goal is to have fun while riding bikes!

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