GS Henley is for people who like riding their bikes, want to get better, and want to encourage others to do the same. The more we do it, the more fun we have.
We’re a fairly young club. We have around 150 members, and are growing by around 20 members a year at the moment.
While we welcome all types of rider, not just a hard core racing set, we do encourage participation in cycling as a sporting activity (GS stands for Gruppo Sportivo after all). We thus have groups of riders who participate in all kinds of cycling: a growing band of road race/ crit riders; a regular crew who like getting muddy during the cyclo cross season; a huge number who ride together on various sportives and regular sorties into continental Europe; a regular presence in the Reading track league; an active and highly successful TT crowd; and a well-supported club ride every Saturday. Quite a number top up their cycling with Tri/ Ironman events too.
What you get as a member
To support all this the club organise one or two road races each year to do our bit for British Cycling; put together a road race taster session for club members only at the Hillingdon crit circuit so that you can see what road racing is like without having to pitch straight in to Cat4 races; run 6 or 7 time trials; field teams for major sportives (Fred Whitton, Ride London, Etape du Tour); and usually arrange a once-a-year chance to get on an indoor velodrome.
Oh, and we give access to a bunch of like-minded people who pretty much know the answer to everything cycling.
How we put a little back
What we ask of members is to recognise that it’s a club – you get out what you put in. In return for getting access to the Forum and building your own way of satisfying your cycling goals we ask that occasionally (once a year or so) you volunteer to help run one of our events. In that way the club gets good access to events run by other clubs as they see we put in what we take out. We also ask that you respect the group riding etiquette we have created in order to be safe and gain the real benefits of riding together (attached, if you are interested in coming out with us).
Club rides can be a little unpredictable in terms of speed, and we divide into groups of no more than eight. A club ride usually ends up being between 25 and 32kph (16 and 19 mph) average, depending on how hilly the course. They last around four hours (100k) but you can always peel off earlier if you need to. There¹s usually at least two groups. If you feel you could hang in there at the lower end of this speed range, then just come along one Saturday and I¹ll show you the ropes.
Induction rides are by appointment and last two to three hours, you won’t get dropped, and they offer a chance to tell you all about the club and a little of the riding etiquette we try to follow. They are usually run on a one-to-one basis so if you are unsure, there’s plenty of opportunity to get the answers you need.