FAQs About Our Rides
A: VeloPigs is a Beer and Bicycle Social Club. That being said, we have fun both on and off the bike, and there is no requirement to drink beer if that’s not your thing. Bikes are cool, and most people that ride bikes are cool too. If you like riding bikes, hanging out with other cool people and sharing fun times, then you can be a VeloPig.
A: If you ride bikes, are a good person, and get along with people, then yes, welcome to the VeloPigs!
A: The VeloPigs were founded over shared post-ride beers in the woods of CT. We wanted a club that was about the love of the ride and the people you meet along the way. We wanted a club that focused not on speed or race results but on the comradery found on a bike. The VeloPigs Beer and Bicycle Social Club was born.
After relocating to Northern Virginia founder Kasey Clark again shared beers with local riders and discovered they shared the VeloPigs ethos. Since then, we have grown into a regionally recognized club with riders of all abilities in all cycling disciplines. VeloPigs is based out of Plum Grove Cyclery in Leesburg Va. We are fortunate enough to call the historic gravel roads of Loudoun County our home roads.
A: How much do you have? We’ll take it all! Seriously, there are no, zero, zippo membership fees to join or ride gravel with a bunch of awesome VeloPigs.
A: Saturday’s start time is 10:00 am. However, during July and August we plan to start the rides at 9:00 to avoid some of the afternoon heat. We’re just cool like that, and besides, Pigs don’t like to roast.
A: There are several options. The best choice is probably the free, public parking garage located on the corner of Loudoun St. SE and Church St. There are also free spots along Harrison St.
Please do not park in Plum Grove Cyclery’s lot, it’s a small pen.
Well, lots of things. First, visit www.velopigs.org and read & sign the Release of Liability form located under the “Our Rides” tab. All participants are required to sign before joining our rides or events.
No Sign = No Ride. Other than that: be physically fit and healthy to ride, own a bicycle or six, have experience riding gravel roads (sometimes bumpy, messy, and wet/muddy), be comfortable riding with others nearby, be comfortable having vehicles pass, assemble a packable tool and a tire repair kit (more on that below), and put on a smile.
All riders need to wear a helmet and mount and illuminate front white and rear red lights on their bikes during all VeloPigs group rides. And just in case, all riders need to carry personal identification and emergency contact information. RoadID is a great option for that. For more information on bicycle laws and riding safely see the next FAQ.
A: Absolutely! We break the rides up into three groups: “The Business”, “Business Casual”, and last but not least, “Party Pace” – Yea!
Here are some details:
- The Business averages 16+ MPH with minimal stopping, but instead some surges, attacks, and high heart rates!
- Business Casual is usually about 14 – 15+ MPH average, stopping at major intersections (as all good cyclists do) and at the top of the longer climbs to regroup and talk smack. The Business Casual group ride the same route as The Business, so if you start with the hammers you can drop-back if your legs are not feeling as fast as your ambition.
- Party Pace is whatever the group determines. Generally, there are more frequent and longer stops to regroup, and usually a few less miles and a little less elevation than the other groups.
The mentioned average speeds can fluctuate during all group rides based on weather, wind speed, temps, gravel road surface conditions, who’s riding, etc. Estimated speed ranges are just that, estimates. Our ride leaders do a great job to ensure nobody is left behind and feels included. Nevertheless, all riders should be prepared to ride solo if they happen to lose the group, because that is a possibility.
A: Routes for our Saturday group rides are posted on our Facebook page on the preceding Thursday or Friday. They are created using RideWithGPS.com and everyone is encouraged to download the route to their bike head-unit or cell phone. Please check out our other routes on RideWithGPS.com if you want to plan your own gravel ride.
A: We try very hard to ensure that does not happen. The rides are are “no-drop” and the accompanying ride leaders do their best to ensure that no Pigs are left behind (although we can’t guarantee that, we try very hard). All riders should be prepared to ride solo if they happen to lose the group, because that can happen.
Note: If you plan to only ride a portion of the route and pull-off to ride solo, please let the leader know beforehand. Thank you.
A: We recommend every rider bring tools, an extra inner tube, a flat repair kit, and a pump or CO2 (along with plenty of water and nutrition). However, just in case, the ride leaders usually carry what you need to fix mechanicals (thanks to Plum Grove Cyclery). Not mechanically inclined? That’s ok, don’t worry, because many fellow Pigs are willing to lend a hoof to get your bike rolling again. If the mechanical breakdown is catastrophic we’ll call in the cavalry to pick you up and get you back to the shop (thanks again to Plum Grove Cyclery – those guys rock!).
Q: What should I do during rides if a car passes too close, blows its horn, cuts me/us off, or the driver yells or throws something at the group (yes that actually happens)?
A: Just stay calm and keep your composure, be the bigger Pig! Don’t be an action hero, don’t antagonize, don’t fire back words or gestures – that is not cool. In other words, don’t let those drivers control your emotions, instead smile and wave (with a full hand, of course). Pigs roll in the dirt, we don’t sling it.
Stooping to the low level of aggressive and unhappy drivers can backfire! They could turn-back and do something much worse, or take their aggression out on the next riding group or solo cyclist. We do not want that to happen, so focus on remembering the description of the vehicle and driver, and get the license plate number. Then feel free to provide that info to the local constabulary so they can do the dirty work.
A: Plum Grove has been a Loudoun County staple for decades, supporting and advocating for everything cycling. Mike and Tom are gracious to host our rides and gatherings, but they nor Plum Grove Cycling are responsible for our safety on the roads or elsewhere – as detailed in the Release of Liability that all ride participants must sign.
You can repay their hospitality and generosity by patronizing their excellent bike shop, which is well-stocked with shiny new bikes, cycling gear, nutrition and accessories. Plum Grove also has extremely qualified/skilled technicians to service your two-wheeled rig (or in many cases, numerous rigs, or rigssss…).
A. No, unfortunately not. We take a Winter hiatus while the weather is cold & nasty (although many Pigs enjoy that stuff and ride year-round). The group rides are organized and announced from Spring through Fall only. Specific details are posted on our Facebook site as start and end dates approach.
A: Oh, heavens no! Most of us also ride Road, Cyclocross, BMX, and/or Mt. bikes. So if you’re looking for something different, you can probably find someone to ride with. Ride All The Bikes!
Q: How do I purchase those VeloPigs Jerseys, shorts, and jackets (“kits”) that all the cool kids are wearing?
A: We usually offer kits for purchase once or twice a year. When that happens we will post an announcement on our Facebook site along with a link to the Voler website where everyone and anyone can purchase one or many custom made items. Also, Plum Grove usually has a few items in the store for purchase.
Q: Am I required to purchase and wear those awesome looking VeloPigs jerseys and bib/shorts (“kits”)?
A: Nope. Variety is the spice of life. If you want to wear your vintage race jersey, another team kit, flannel, baggies, or nothing at all, that’s fine too. Being a VeloPig is not exclusive, riders from other shops and teams are always welcome.
A. On your mark, get set, oh yes. Whether during adventure rides or races, you will usually find VeloPigs participating across the state and beyond. During 2021 we launched the “VeloPigs Racing Division” for our speedier riders and adventurers, and everyone is welcome to join (visit that specific Facebook Group).
A: The VeloPigs participate in Virginia’s Adopt a Highway program. We partnered with Plum Grove to help keep Old Waterford Rd and Beaverdam Bridge Rd clear of litter. The VeloPigs also partner with Plum Grove to support Loudoun County Mobil Hope organization, who “provides support and emergency shelter to youth up to age 24 who are at-risk, precariously housed or homeless and empowers them to become self-sufficient.”
Also, last year one of our members collected donations for hurricane relief by accepting goods and donations then driving it South to distribute. We also have visibility at cycling advocacy events and trail maintenance days. Feel free to share events on our Facebook page and welcome others to provide a helping hand.
A: Because they love to squeal!
A: In an hambulance, of course!