Road racing help

My mate is jus starting out in road racing and needs a bit of help.

What’s the best advice for a road racing beginner?

Join a novice program.
My club runs one, which I did earlier this year. It’s about 8-10 weeks.
They start out teaching basic bike handling, then basic bunch riding, more advance bunch riding techniques like rolling off and team TT, then finish with race skills like counter-attacking, sprint lead outs, etc.

Get him to do a google. There’s heaps of good articles about race skills. Could start here

where’s he based?

He’s based in St. Albans. He contacted Footscray Cycling Club and they were not so helpful.

He has a Reid Condor bike with drop bars and the club told him the bike was shit and not good enough for racing.

My mate doesn’t have a lot of money but is keen to give it a go.

he seems like a nice guy. tell him to go down to harrison st velodrome on a thursday night. ask to speak to dave (wearing pink) or cam (talking a lot and laughing really loudly).

however, the footscray guys may have had a point about his bike. if it’s not safe, they won’t let him race. the good thing about brunswick is that dave and/or cam can hook him up with a loaner track bike that is safe, so he can at least start to learn how to race his bike, even if it’s on the track rather than the road.

Yep another thing to point out is the Reid Condor has the shifters next to the stem, so if you have to keep taking your hands off the bars to shift that’s not really safe for racing.

I think that reid condor might be a little bit too low-end to be safe/reliable at 35-40km/h with a whole bunch of guys around.

Definitely start with some velodrome stuff. Loaner bikes here are $10 a session which is cool (dunno about your local). The velodrome sessions will give him a good idea about bunch skills etc etc, and are the best possible place to learn the ropes.

If he’s loving the velodrome, save up ~$600 or so, find a second hand alloy road bike on Gumtree or something. Ideally you want a brand that at least sells high-end bikes (giant etc). Try for something with components that are roughly 105 level, and a carbon fiber fork or upgraded wheelset. Or $400 should get an OK track bike, but won’t be able to race road with that.

Should be enough left over for a nice helmet and a shoe/cleat combination. Buy a helmet new, everything else is fine to get 2nd hand stuff. You don’t need expensive stuff to get started, but you do need stuff that is safe, and reliable.

For reference, I had a third hand 2006 azzuri alloy road bike, with 105 components throughout. 2nd hand shoes & kit & generally super cheap everything. Got me from E grade, to a B grade win & a few A grade races before I got hit by a car on it & upgraded to a new fandangled carbon doodad bling bling bike.

They have a point. The rider and riders around him/her don’t want their bike to fall apart at speed.

The footscray guys like to bluster, but they are right on this. They still follow the tough love model of teaching! Despite this, they are a very welcoming club that love beers.

But I’d also echo Brendan’s advice and go talk to Brunswick.

Spacey - there is a lot of shit spoken in the last 5 posts.

Their is nothing unsafe with the Reid - shifters on the stem are safer than downtube shifters that have won plenty of tdf’s.

Some Footscray guys will try and hang on to their traditional “professional” club status, as opposed to most Victorian clubs who embraced the amateur code during the 80’s.

Maybe my advice will be redundant as I’m a major hubbard and in the grand scheme of things still fairly new to road racing but I’ve watched lower grades race and stuff can get pretty sketchy when there is a lot of inexperience in the bunch. The last thing a beginner needs while learning to race is having to take their hands off the bars just to change gears.

Now I’m kinda confused. Five people are saying one thing and someone else is saying the opposite.

Why would he need carbon forks instead of steel or alloy?

At last some sense is spoken here. A well maintained bike, Reid or whatever else, should meet the needs of a beginner.
I would be wary of a club that says to a beginner that their bike is shit based on its price/brand. In my club, you can attend any beginners training session as long as your bike has got drop bars and is in good shape.

Your mate should find out about regular bunch rides in the area and start with the slower bunches. Also find out whether these rides need a CA license or not, then go from there.

Thanks for the advice. Admittedly the Reid bike is pretty shit to be honest but we were going to fix it up a bit to make it safer and more suitable for racing (better tyres etc.). I’m sure that if my mate gets a chance he would probably be pretty good.

did he ask for clarification on why they thought his bike wasn’t suitable? that’s where I’d start.

failing that, if they’re being unhelpful, go elsewhere, maybe it’s a sign.

Ergo’s/sti’s are kinda a recent thing (if you happen to be a slightly old guy like me)
Bike snobbery aside, surely if the bike is in roadworthy condition then it’s safe enough to race?

I’ll just leave a pic of these guys racing their crazy unsafe bikes

But all of Eddie & co’s bikes are built and maintained by pro mechanics to an identical level of performance.
Those reid bikes are known to be pretty shit, and throw a novice on one of those bikes into a bunch riding at 40+kmh, then having to take his hands off the bars to shift, then finding his braking to be sub-optimal? Sounds like fun. I reckon the club had the right idea in telling him to come back when he has a better bike.

TC: I’ve never raced, so this is the opinion of a rank outsider. That said, I’d be keeping away from that guy in a group ride too…

+1 to all of the above

If we’re talking average speeds, a novice will never ride at 40 kph in a bunch. 23-25 will be a good start. Bunches going at 40 kph average are for pro tours. I don’t ride with the fast bunches but I know from Strava that they don’t do 40 kph average, more like 36-38. But sure, a fall at 20kph or 40 kph can be equally damaging.

When we go all the way from riding a beater to riding a nice bike, we prefer to ride the nice stuff, which is normal. But imho going from the beater to the nice bike is part of a rider’s education. There are many valuable learning steps there.

Also a couple improvements can be done to a beater for it to be safe: fit it properly to the rider, get good brake pads, true wheels etc etc. If anything, down tube shifters will increase the skills of the rider.

Dude, no one said 40kph average. But top speeds are gonna hit over 40.
And the reid with the stem shifters is a horrible piece of shit. Not an old decent roadie, a horrible horrible piece of shit. The brakes are shit, the gearing is shit, the wheels are shit. Not a beater, a horrible piece of shit.
Homeboy would be better buying a used $200 giant: every part would be of higher quality and less likely to fail catastrophically.

Look at this: Condor Road Bike - Reid Cycles You can’t tell me you’d be happy putting your safety in the hands of a novice riding this.

I see your point, I really do. I agree that starting with a beater is the way to go.