BIGF Training Rides
Please note that participants of the BIGF training rides are responsible for ensuring that their bicycle is in good working order before attending each training ride. While participating on our training rides, all participants must adhere to and obey all rules of the road as per the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. For more information about bike safety and rules of the road please visit the Ministry of Transportation website.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions that are not addressed in this FAQ document.
1. Do I have to register for the training rides or can I just show up when I want to ride?
Yes, all riders must be registered to participate. Registration ensures that all riders are covered by Ontario Cycling Association insurance to participate.
2. Are helmets mandatory?
Yes. Safety-approved cycle helmets (Snell, CSA or equivalent national standard) are required and must be worn at all times when cycling. Any cyclist not wearing a helmet will not be permitted to ride with the group.
3. What can I expect on the first night of my training ride?
Be prepared to arrive early so that you can connect with other cyclists, learn from the ride coordinators and ride leaders, and cycle a short distance. Your ride coordinator(s) will review the process for the weekly rides, review the requirements for your bike and provide
an overview of the 12-week training program.
Please note that in previous years, the first night was a busy one as cyclists were required to check in, receive their t-shirts and get their registration identification. New in 2019, BIGF will be offering registration package pick-up the week of May 6th and 8th at Blackwell Cycle (one week prior to the first scheduled training ride) to prevent congestion on the first night. This information will also be posted on our website.
4. What do I need to bring for my first ride?
Bicycle helmets must be worn at all times while participating in any BIGF ride and other protective equipment is strongly encouraged (e.g., gloves, sunglasses, cycling shorts, etc.). A water bottle is required and all participants need to carry a spare tube on their bike. As per the Highway Traffic Act, all bikes should be equipped with reflectors, lights and a bell.
5. Do I need cycling insurance to participate?
All registered participants of the Monday and Wednesday training rides will be covered by OCA insurance during the organized training rides. OCA insurance is included in your registration fee.
6. How will you know if cyclists have registered for the rides?
All registered participants in the Monday and Wednesday night training rides will be provided with a BIGF sticker that is to be placed on either your helmet or your bike. Ride leaders will be looking for this sticker to verify that you are a registered participant. This sticker also indicates that you are covered by OCA to participate.
7. How many riders will be in each group?
When a large number of riders come out for any given training ride, the riders will be encouraged by the ride coordinator to break into smaller groups. On Wednesday night rides, we will attempt to make our group sizes range anywhere from 6- 16 cyclists, supported by ride leaders. The different groups should be at least 100 meters apart on the road to allow other vehicles to pass safely between groups. Monday night rides will have 5-7 cyclists riding in each group with all groups supported by an experienced ride leader.
8. Is the Monday night training program different than the Wednesday night rides?
Yes. The Monday night training rides were created with the novice cyclist in mind. Rides will focus on building the participant’s confidence, safety, cycling skills and ability to ride in a group. Rides will be shorter, slower and will include special workshops to develop basic skills such as how to change gears, how to safely perform shoulder checks, how to drink water while riding, etc.
The focus for Wednesday night rides is to build endurance, strength and skill so that participants can ride more competitively as they prepare for the BIGF event on August 4th. Wednesday night rides will also have groups riding in pace lines.
9. I am registered for my first 50 km ride. Should I sign-up for Monday night or Wednesday night rides?
This is a common question now that we have introduced a new Monday night ride training program. We have provided a list of suggestions to help you determine the best fit:
- The slowest group on Wednesday nights will be riding an average pace of 20-24 km/hour. If you cannot maintain this pace for at least an hour of riding, Monday night would be your best fit.
- If you do not know how to use your gears, it is recommended you join the Monday night group.
- If you are not confident riding on the road and are not used to riding in groups with other cyclists then Monday night is the best fit for you.
- If you have not ridden more than 10 km before and would like to train for the 30 km or 50 km event then Monday night is the best fit for you.
- If you have completed a 50 km event before and have the endurance to maintain a 20+ km/hour pace for an hour then Wednesday night would be the best fit for you.
10. How long will the rides be?
All rides will depart at 6:15 sharp. Cyclists are asked to arrive a Blackwell Cycle by 6 pm for a pre-ride talk and opportunity to check air pressure and convene in your groups. During the first few weeks of the program, rides will be about an hour. Length of time will increase as each group builds distance and endurance. All rides are completed during daylight and most cyclists are finished by 8 p.m.
11. What pace do the different groups ride?
Monday Night Rides will be determined by the needs of the novice riders who register.
These rides are geared to cyclists who are not able to maintain a pace of 20 km/hr for an
extended period of time.
Wednesday Night Rides
For those who would like to ride easy but want to experience riding in small groups with like-minded people while increasing fitness and biking skills. Distance 20+ km. Pace – 20 km/hr
You have had some experience of group rides but would like more group saddle time while riding at a moderate pace. Distance 20+ km. Pace 20-24 km/hr
The Mocha group will follow the same routes as the Cappuccino group but at a faster and more consistent pace Distance 20+ km. Pace 24-28 km.hr
This is the group for you if you are comfortable with group riding and have a good level of fitness but want to improve your cycling skills. Distance 30+km. Pace 28- 32 km/hr
We ride consistently and will sometimes share the workload at the front… ideal for riders that want to try a faster pace and drafting while knowing that there is a “no drop” policy. Distance K30+ km. Pace 32+ km/hr
12. Should I carry a cell phone in case of emergency?
Ride leader(s) will carry a cell phone for emergency use on all BIGF training rides. BIGF riders are encouraged to carry their own cell phones as well. Riders should immediately call 911 in the event of an emergency. All participants of the BIGF training rides will also receive an emergency contact card to be carried during rides. All ride leaders will be familiar with the BIGF risk management plan and will be prepared to respond in the best way possible.
13. What happens if I get a flat tire during one of my rides?
All cyclists are required to carry a spare tube on their bike at all times. In the event that a rider gets a flat tire, either a ride leader or a representative from Blackwell Cycle will be able to provide support.
14. Can I listen to music while riding with my group?
In an effort to ensure safety for all riders, headphones and earbuds are not permitted on the group rides. Cyclists are required to listen for traffic, to communicate with their group and to be able to listen to coaching tips and advice from their ride leaders.
15. What happens if I can’t keep up with my group?
Riders will not be left behind during a BIGF Ride unless they first confirm with the ride marshal(s) that they are detaching from the group; all members of the BIGF Ride are responsible for ensuring they properly notify the ride leader(s) if they are detaching from the group.
16. Are BIGF training rides cancelled when it rains?
In the event of inclement weather, the decision to cancel a BIGF training ride will be made by 4 pm on the day of the ride. BIGF Rides will be cancelled when lightning is present in the area. If a ride is cancelled due to weather, all participants will receive an email and an update will be posted to the BIGF Facebook page. Cyclists can also call Blackwell Cycle after 4 pm for an update 519 491-1777.
17. What is included with my registration for the training rides?
All registered participants in both the Monday and Wednesday night training rides will receive:
- OCA insurance coverage for participation in the training rides
- A custom t-shirt
- 15% discount on cycling parts at Blackwell Cycle
- 10% discount on new bikes at Blackwell Cycle
- A 12-week training program supported by experienced cycling guides
- A water bottle compliments of Northgate Pharmacy
18. I’ve heard the BIGF jerseys run small. How can I make sure I order the right size when I register for the event?
Cycling jerseys are only provided for participants of the BIGF event on Sunday, August 4th and will be included in the participants’ packages the weekend of the event. BIGF jerseys are a European fit professional cycling jersey and tend to fit small compared to North American standards. Giordana will have sample jersey sizes available at Blackwell Cycle so riders can check to determine the best fit. New in 2019 we will be offering 4 and 5 XL size options for riders. Sizing charts are also available on the Giordana website.