Thank you for checking out the Grizzly Peak Cyclists, a bicycle club based in Berkeley, California. We call ourselves a “bicycle touring club”, but that just scratches the surface of who we are and what we do.
We have club rides every weekend throughout the year, and many weekdays too. Roughly half our rides are in the East Bay; the rest are all over the San Francisco Bay Area. Our ride calendar is posted every month on our website and in our newsletter.
Anyone is welcome on our rides. Advance signup is not necessary (sign-ins take place at the ride start), but feel free to contact a ride's leader in advance with any questions.
Many of our local rides start at BART stations to promote the use of public transit. For rides that do not start at BART stations, ride leaders can help arrange carpool match-ups. In any case, we encourage familiarity with BART because it can be a handy way home in case of weather changes, mechanical problems, or rider fatigue.
A 30% chance of rain or showers will probably cancel a ride. If the weather looks doubtful on the morning of a ride, please call the ride leader. We strongly encourage everyone to wear ANSI or SNELL-approved helmets. Youth under the age of 18 are required by law to wear a helmet. Helmets are required on the Century and certain other rides. Please see our ride guidelines page for more detail on these and other ride pointers.
Our members' riding interests run the gamut. We have novices, intermediates, advanceds, and everything in between. We have people who like to spend a half-day socializing while riding and eating at bakeries; people who like to spend a full day riding and eating burritos; family riders with kids; experienced tourists who have done many bike trips abroad; experienced long-distance riders who compete in mountainous double-centuries (timed 200-mile rides); and experienced randonneurs — 12 GPC members entered the most recent Paris-Brest-Paris 1200km brevet.
Our rides are correspondingly diverse. For this reason, you'll want to pick a ride that matches your abilities and experience. Before going on any GPC ride, you should read its description and understand our ride rating system. If you don't know what distance or pace is right for you, it is better to err on the conservative side. If you have any questions about a ride, phone the ride leader in advance.
We hold large introductory ride series a twice a year. In the late summer we usually hold a series of weekly Novice Rides to introduce solo cyclists to the challenges of responsible group riding, with rides of increasing length and difficulty over the course of five or six weeks. In the spring we usually hold a series of weekly Century-Prep Rides to help people get in shape to ride a century.
The annual Grizzly Peak Century is our premier event. It is known throughout northern California for its gourmet home-made food and challenging terrain. It draws a high level of volunteers from among our membership.
Each month we hold Alex's Second Saturday Ride. It happens on (you guessed it) the second Saturday every month (except for May) and is a large all-club ride which after a few miles breaks into separate groups riding at all different paces. Our relaxed-pace Wednesday rides are something of a social institution and typically draw 30 or more people — an eclectic lot including many retired folks and also several younger folks who somehow manage to escape work that day. During daylight savings time there are (usually) midweek post-work rides and from March through October we (usually) host a monthly time trial.
In addition to our regular rides, we encourage members and their families and friends to attend major club events such as the New Year's Day Ride up Mt. Diablo, the Century Workers' Ride, and the Calistoga Weekend which comprises multiple rides and culminates in hot tubbing and dinner.
The diversity of club rides depends on members of all levels providing ride leadership. There is no central committee that dictates rides; we are member-driven and what's listed on the calendar is exactly what people choose to list. Our philosophy: If you want to see a specific ride (or type of ride) listed, then list and lead it yourself. Any member can lead — we ask you to check our ride leader guidelines first — and the ride coordinator can help with choosing a route or rating a new route. Experienced mentors are available, on request, to advise new ride leaders.
Every year, GPC donates a large part of the proceeds raised through our Century to nonprofit organizations which promote or help bicycling in some way — be it advocacy, safety, education, awareness, youth-biking, or the bicycling environment. In 2010, it was $15,000, which is well over half of our net Century proceeds. A detailed list of recipients and amounts is on our donations page. Whether you are a Century rider or a Century volunteer, your participation also helps the larger bicycling community in this way.
Whatever your bicycling interests, we invite you to join Grizzly Peak Cyclists and participate. We have over 400 members: about 65% live in Berkeley, Oakland, and the immediately surrounding towns; about 10% in San Francisco; the rest live throughout the Bay Area and beyond. Membership benefits include:
Of course, the greatest benefit of all is the chance to meet, network, and ride regularly with other cyclists in order to enhance your bicycling skills and expand your riding experiences.
We hold regular meetings the second Wednesday each month at the homes of various members. The meeting sites are published in the newsletter in advance. Members are encouraged to bring a potluck dish and to get to know fellow club members in this relaxed, informal setting. The potluck dinner is at 6:30pm and the meeting begins at 7:30; an informational program is usually offered as well. In December we traditionally hold a holiday party at a local restaurant instead of a meeting.
Annual membership dues are $15 for an individual, $18 for a family. Multi-year memberships are available — no savings, but less paperwork for everybody, and you'll never miss an issue of the aforementioned Wheel Truth. You can join on-line, or using paper, as explained here.
If you have further questions about membership, or if you would like a current copy of the Wheel Truth newsletter, just ask our membership chair: e-mail <membership at grizz dot org>.
Other questions can be directed to other club officers — a full list is on the officers and contact information page.