Edinburgh RC - Sunday club run questionnaire results
A total of 62 club members responded, out of a total membership of around 400 (of whom only a handful don't have e-mail access and so didn't receive the questionnaire) - a respectable response rate of around 15%. My thanks to all those who took the trouble to respond.
A number of people had experienced difficulties e-mailing responses to the Newsletter mailbox. Apologies for this - and I hope I got them all in the end (thanks to Stephen Roy for forwarding them to me by another route).
The numbers of responses to the various options are set out below. The percentages are calculated according to the total number of people who answered that question. (Four people just sent written comments, some of which could be translated into options for QQ 4 or 5, but didn't include answers to QQ 1-3.) The percentages for QQ 4 and 5 add up to more than 100% because people were encouraged to choose two or more of the options in each case. All percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number.
Q1: During the past year, how often have you been on the ERC Sunday run?
(a) most Sundays (more often than not) 1 (2%)
(b) quite often (less often than not) 4 (7%)
(c) a few times 9 (16%)
(d) once or twice 10 (17%)
(e) never 34 (59%)
Q2: Over the same period, how often have you been on one of the regular Saturday runs from the Commonwealth Pool?
(a) most Saturdays (more often than not) 18 (32%)
(b) quite often (less often than not) 16 (28%)
(c) a few times 11 (19%)
(d) once or twice 7 (12%)
(e) never 5 (9%)
Q3: If you've been on a Saturday run, which one was it?
(a) the ERC 9.30 run (entry-level) 16 (28%)
(b) the 9.45 (mid-paced training) run 18 (31%)
(c) the 9.45-plus (higher-paced training) run 18 (31%)
(d) the 10 o'clock (race-training) run 6 (10%)
Q4: If you've not been on the Sunday run often (or at all), what are the reasons for this?
(a) I didn't know about it 2 (4%)
(b) I don't know other people who go on the Sunday run 4 (8%)
(c) I prefer to do other (non-cycling) things on Sunday mornings 12 (24%)
(d) I prefer to do other (cycling) things on Sunday mornings (e.g. mountain-biking, solo training runs) 14 (27%)
(e) I take part in a Saturday run, and don't have the time (or the legs) for both 12 (24%)
(f) It's a greater distance than I want to do and/or I don't have the time 10 (20%)
(g) I need to be more sure of when I'm likely to get home 12 (24%)
(h) I think the Sunday run is/would be too fast for me 15 (29%)
(i) I'm worried about getting dropped and/or getting lost 10 (20%)
(j) I'm not confident about riding in a group 1 (2%)
(k) Fairmilehead at 10 am is not convenient for me 13 (25%)
(l) Other (please specify):· Currently not fit enough to do two runs of a weekend, so sticking with Saturday run.· No particular reason; just been a bit lazy. Have often gone out on my own or with like minded mates on a Sunday.· I'd like to do the Sunday ride regularly, but I often find that either I don't have the time, or I'm tired from the Saturday run.· Uncertainty over route.· Runs do not leave on time at 10am.· I don't usually have time for a Sunday ride at this time.· Too early in the morning! Sundays are for sleeping, plus mostly racing on Sunday.· I prefer not to have a cafe stop, wait for punctures etc. Pace often too slow in easier group, a bit too fast in first group.· Racing on sunday during season or injured.· I currently live out of town.· Other personal/social commitments.· I have a young family and being away effectively all day is a non-starter. 13 (25%)
Total (people who answered Q4) 51
Q5: Would any of the following make you more likely to come on Sunday runs?
(a) If there was a ride leader to choose the route, set a pace suitable for everyone participating, and ensure that no-one gets dropped or lost 21 (38%)
(b) If the ride was faster and more sustained 4 (7%)
(c) If the ride was slower and more relaxed 9 (16%)
(d) If there were more options for distance/duration 19 (35%)
(e) If there was always a café stop (or at least a scheduled stop at a shop to buy something to eat/drink) 12 (+ 1 maybe) (22%/24%)
(f) If there was a social gathering afterwards (e.g. in an Edinburgh café) 7 (13%)
(g) If it started earlier (e.g. 9 or 9.30 am) 13 (24%)
(h) If the rendezvous point was the Commonwealth Pool, instead of Fairmilehead 22 (40%)
(i) If the rendezvous point varied from week to week (according to a regular pattern, or a schedule on the website) 10 (18%)
(j) If the destinations and distances were advertised in advance 27 (49%)
(k) Other (please specify):· Personal fitness levels· If the run was suitable for entry level cyclists too without holding back others.· Leave on time 9 (16%)
(l) None of the above 7 (13%)
Total (people who answered Q5) 55
All relevant comments are included below (some edited for length):
· I have been put off turning up to one recently due to the emails saying how few people turned up and worry that the people that do are speedy and all know each other and unknown me will be holding them all back!
· I have 2 young kids and simply don't have time for the Sunday run which seems (from what I've heard) far more drawn out and leisurely than the Saturday ones. Nice in theory, but not in practice!
· Perhaps the Sunday run should be split into a third group - maybe a 45-50 mile run based on the slower riders, with the same initial route for the first 20 miles, so that if someone in the faster group finds the pace too much, they can wait to slot into a slower group. This would only work if there were enough cyclists at the start.
· We are unlikely to go out both days and Saturday runs are such that we can be home by 1 if we need to.
· My other commitments make it unlikely that Sunday morning would ever be a possibility for me
· The distance of the Sunday run would suit my training needs ...but I have a young family and being away effectively all day is a non-starter. [Re 9 am start:] Or even earlier: 8am? The good thing about the Saturday (and Tues and Thurs) runs is that they are a defined route and distance - you know how long you will be out for and when you get back and can plan the rest of the day accordingly.
· I very much enjoy the Sunday run in its present format; the impromptu destinations are not a problem as it is usually a group decision. I have found that club members can usually control the group so everyone is at a comfortable pace.
· I'm interested in coming on a Sunday run but distance-wise I'm looking for something 30-50 miles at a pace nearer the 09.30 Saturday run pace, i.e. more sociable than a training pace. Fairmilehead is not much further than the Commonwealth Pool as a start point for me; however, I like the idea of other start points - the Usher Hall (start point for Spokes rides) would be ideal for me. Sunday is a better day for me than Saturday for going cycling.
· The MTB section advertise their Sunday rides in a weekly "What's On" e-mail to the group. This will detail where the ride starts, likely route and duration, availability of tea shops en route (or to bring your own snacks) and the ride leader. The same information is also on the diary page so anyone can see in advance where the ride is going. This seems to work very well as people can pick and choose what rides they want to go on in advance if necessary
I would like to go on more of the Sunday runs as for me it would be a good way to build up base miles in the winter but I am worried that it would be too far or fast for me.
· I would also like to see the run pick up at Dalkeith Park as per the Saturday rides.
· If it's a simple case of people being unable to make a Sunday no matter what format, then maybe we need to turn this on its head and start one of the (0940/0950) Saturday rides from Fairmilehead and get away from the E.Lothian glut/rut. Maybe you could rotate them with 0940 one week and the 0950 the following as a short term experiment.
· I certainly would favour the Sunday run to be a relaxed and sociable to complement the more structured and training orientated Saturday rides.
· Having nominated run leaders would be a large undertaking for the club. I think deciding the routes on the day depending on numbers and weather is still the best option. sometimes the problem is that everyone stands around and no-one will take the initiative. In the past a number of (committee) members agreed to take charge if they were at Tusitala. I would like to see annual club stickers on bikes identifying club members so we would know who to recruit and who the regular hangers-on were. A couple of these stickers could be issued with club membership cards.
· It would be a shame if it stopped! I would like to come and do a longer distance but think it would be too fast as I got behind the first time but am going to give it another go. It's good if you can't make it on a Saturday.
· Does it matter if the numbers participating in the Sunday run decline? The number of people joining the club and participating in some form of cycling appear to be increasing, which seems a good measure of the current state of the club. The Sunday run has its place as a social event for members who are not interested in racing, and is a useful introduction to longer group rides for newer club members. However, it has limited training benefits. Fewer people regularly taking part in the Sunday run may actually be a healthy sign, with more people participating in competition and a range of other events.
· I am not a competitive rider, more of a "serious leisure" rider really, so I'm not sure if the Sunday Runs are quite what I would be looking for if/when I get back into road riding. Speaking personally, I'd be interested in full day rides through interesting scenery on quiet roads at a moderate-to-fast pace, but I quite understand that that is probably not what other members are looking for.
· How about themed rides (to work on certain training components) or rides for certain (ability/goal-focussed) groups within the club - e.g. a hilly ride, a flat ride, a ride with sprints, rides in groups might be - women, TT, Div 2., Div. 1, vets? I think some kind of rota incorporating suggestions in Q5 and Q6 would be far better than just the same format every week. Variety and challenge is what will bring people on and generate better team working within functional groupings.
· I think the different nature of the weekend runs complement each other and the fact that numbers on the Sunday run are currently small does not matter a great deal On the other hand, the club may be getting to the size where there is the demand for both sorts of run on both days. Only instituting this would genuinely determine why one is much more popular than the other.
· Very difficult for a hectic lifestyle, we need to know when we will get back ... The club runs ignore Fife, which is a great pity.
· Possibly another shorter ride heading off at 11am as many riders socialise on Saturdays after early starts throughout the summer and welcome longer in bed to recover.
· 60 or 70 miles might be a bit much if the pace got up. In this situation a shorter run option would be a good idea for me. This may also suit those with limited time available.
· Perhaps the intemperate tone of the person that sent the email recently bemoaning the fact that some members didn't cycle in their group, and may have been starting a "clique" actually explains why some people are not going with the group. The tone of the email even made me consider whether or not to remain in the club ... I have a young family, so I have an either/or decision to make every time I go for a ride. The Sunday runs in my case are too late (they generally don't start until 10.30)
I'll head out for a long run on Sat or Sun and generally before 10 am so I can spend time with my wife and kids ... An earlier start (when it is daylight - 9am in winter, 7am in summer) leaves at least half a day to get other things done.
· Would like to know more about it. When it meets, who goes, distance etc. Benefit of Saturday is you can pick group to suit your pace. Perhaps someone could distribute a really simple flier at the Saturday morning meets to advertise Sunday runs. Have 2 runs - one fast, one slow.
· I don't think it would be good to change the starting point each week - would get way too confusing.
· I used to ride about 35-40% of all Sunday rides until about two or three years ago. I found that with children
I was getting back home somewhat late, sometimes around 2.30. The Saturday rides get me home at 12.30,
but 10 o'clock when you have kids is like the afternoon. What finally ruled out Sunday rides for me was the dwindling fast riders group. Saturday 10 o'clock is not only super training, but it's as good as and sometimes better than a real race. I also enjoy meeting riders from other clubs.
I will turn up again at Tusitala and if a fast group is heading out I will join them, though I have been known to go for the leisurely ride too. Another thing is that Saturday begs a supreme effort to burn up the stress of the week. Waiting till Sunday can be frustrating.
The organised structure and more welcoming nature of the [Saturday] 9.45 rides have proven to be a real winner and people love them. I suspect too that many like the fact that their 'workout' is all done by 12.30 and the cafe stop is optional.
· Would be very keen to do Sunday rides, time/location not so important, just a bit concerned that may be too far or fast/getting lost etc. Perhaps one or two introductory sessions next year with guaranteed reasonable pace + stop for punctures etc. to get people along, then could be a bit faster on subsequent runs?
· Sunday run is enjoyable, but takes up most of the day due to starting at 10 & finishing after 2. Saturday run easier to fit in with other commitments as back shortly after 12.
· The reason people don't like Sunday runs are they are too long, people don't know where they are going from week to week and they are not sure if they are fit enough for the training group but don't want to go on the recovery ride because they don't want to sit in a cafe for hours. The Saturday run is attractive because you don't have to think about it, you pick your time and go and you know you have your training done by 12 30. I think the Saturday runs' success has killed the Sunday run and is also detrimental for ERC racers
going round the same route (without hills) at race pace 52 weeks a year is never going to prepare you for races. When I started, the Saturday run was a Nov to March event with post-Xmas used to build your speed, and the Sunday was the day you did your real training. My suggestion would be to end the Saturday runs.
· I have always hoped to come along but never managed to find the time. Deeside Thistle Cycling Club provide pre planned Sunday runs different routes every week.
· Changing routes would be fun, that is a bit dull about the Saturday run.
· Just one thought: maybe it makes sense to have the Sunday run more elite in order not to cannibalise the Saturday run. It could be the case that two similar runs would just reduce the group size at each, without attracting more people.
· My suggestion would be to change the start point to the Commonwealth pool - I think this would help the ride and get many more coming along. I think if we could get more people out on Sunday, it could reduce the numbers on a Saturday which would be good as the groups are huge and can get a bit dangerous.
· I no longer have the full day to dedicate to cycling so need to know what time I will return and I often get out early so the afternoon is free. Also getting out early in Winter makes the most of the daylight for longer rides. Another factor is riding with people who have poorly maintained bikes and tyres and end up causing the group to stop with lots of punctures or mechanicals in cold winter weather.
· I feel strongly that the run route needs to be advertised in advance, with an appointed leader each week. There is far too much dithering and uncertainty about the run. I suggest a rota with the run leader choosing and posting the route on the website. We need about 10-12 run leader volunteers to operate on a rota for this to work.
· The 3 Sunday runs I have attended this year have all been excellent (thanks ERC) - the one thing I would change is the meeting place. Commonwealth pool would be better.
· The main reason I don't attend more is that on a long Sunday ride I would aim for a fairly easy (zone 2/3) sustained effort. Unfortunately, even on wide roads where you would be happy to drive at 60mph many riders' instinct is to soft pedal or freewheel when a mild gradient takes them over 20mph. Additionally, a hill is often taken with a harder out of the saddle effort. This results in significant time not even pedalling within a 3 hour zone 0-5 interval session. This yo-yoing of effort probably leads to weaker riders struggling, and especially in the cold weather leads to a repeated sweat then chill cycle which can lead to serious discomfort. I also suggest that greater use is made of the quiet lanes of East Lothian.
· The biggest obstacle for me is not knowing where we're going.
· Personally I'd be sorry to see any change in the Sunday run. I enjoy it very much as it is.
I like doing the Saturday run because it's quick, and it leaves the rest of the day for other things. That's attractive.
· I don't think there's too much wrong with the run as it stands, and I'm sure it will pick up over the winter. Personally though I would prefer to "sell" it as a social run, rather than training run, especially over winter. Social doesn't have to mean very slow - I don't see anything wrong with advertising the run as say 16/17mph - but I think we should stress that we will always wait at the top of hills and at junctions i.e. no one will left behind or allowed to get lost. This is purely anecdotal, but from talking to Saturday run people in the cafe I get the impression that they are put off because they think Sunday runs are just the same as Saturday, only longer and harder! This is definitely not the case, but we have to find a way of getting this across to new riders.
· If the start of the ride was convenient - Commie Pool is excellent
If starting point could be a little later: 11 am, as Sunday I need some morning lie in before the working week starts again! Also crucially for me, I cannot stop on route because I get too cold in winter
BUT I could stop AFTER the ride at the local Artista cafe
If the ride goes at a proper winter pace, with emphasis on spinning like all European winter rides, i.e. one should be able to chat with fellow cyclists all the way around and not out too long - general rule there being no longer than 2hr30-3hrs before Christmas and up to maximum of 4 hours by Feb, strictly no racing.
Check the Edinburgh RC forums to read the latest event reports and find out what club members are talking about.