A longer, stronger workout is often achieved riding with a group, and a club atmosphere is great for acquiring techniques and making friends. And, according to John Forester, author of "The Effective Cyclist," riders who join clubs are less prone to accidents than others. (Speaking of safety, helmets are a good idea. Jerry Maryniuk, an emergency room physician at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, said 75% of serious bicycle injuries are head-related and half of them can be avoided with helmets.)
The following clubs include those promoting recreational rides, mountain bicycling and racing.
* Central Coast Velo is geared toward both the recreational rider and the beginning racer. Club members meet Sunday at 8 a.m. at Bill's Bike Shop in Camarillo for rides that range from 35 to 80 miles. Time trials on 10-mile courses are at 8 a.m. on third Sundays in months from March to October; call for locations. Dues are $15 a year, which includes a bimonthly newsletter. For information, call 484-1203.
* The Conejo Valley Cyclists has chapters for recreational riders and racers. Meetings are the first Monday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the Thousand Oaks Mall community room. Rides for beginners and veterans leave at 8 a.m. Saturday from Security Pacific Bank at the northeast corner of the Thousand Oaks Mall; riders choose from eight routes 15 to 35 miles long. A 17-mile recreational ride from the Landing Shopping Center in Westlake Village to Hidden Valley Road and back leaves Wednesdays at 6 p.m. Racers meet Saturdays and Sundays at 8 a.m. at the Thousand Oaks Mall for rides that total 40 miles or more. Training rides are Tuesday through Thursday morning and evenings; call for locations and times. Dues, which include a monthly newsletter, are $20 for recreational riders, $25 for families, $10 for students, $25 for adult racers and $15 for junior racers. For information, call 495-5313.