Choosing a team as an amateur bike racer can be a rather complicated affair. As a racer starting out, I don’t think the amount of “sponsorship” should play much of a factor. There isn’t enough bike racing money to go around to give much in the way of sponsorship to Category 5 racers. So what should a beginning racer look for? There are 3 items to consider:
- Team organization. Is your team set up to grow racers? Do they have a system for helping racers upgrade? (who works for who, etc.) Do they give as much attention to beginners as the elite riders? Does the team have team rides and are they in a location that you can participate?
- Experience. Depending on your final goals, having racers at the 1-2 level may be important. Even if you aren’t going pro soon, having some older racers around can be a huge benefit. Tactics, equipment, and teamwork are important in racing and the learning curve is steep. Having folks around to usher you through can be critical to success or even staying in the sport.
- Community. Does your team do thing together? Much of what is fun is having folks to hang out with a talk about racing, etc. The tighter the team, the better folks race and the more fun you can have. Is there a greater goal within cycling or your city? I’ve enjoyed being on teams that have had loftier goals than just riding your bike.
Next up – The more experienced racer.