Road Ride FAQs

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FAQs for Riders

Which ride? – The club runs a variety of rides at different distances and different average speeds to suit most rides whether new to riding or an experienced group rider.  Each ride is described in detail in our stickypost ‘This Weeks Rides’ you should scroll down and read the descriptions to best know which group most likely suits your ability and preference.  Please note the average speeds referred to give an indication of the effort needed so on a very hilly long route may dip below the advertised average or on a flat short route may tip over this but the effort expected will be about the same.

What about my Bike? There is no question that on a road ride a road bike is faster and more appropriate in virtually every instance!  However as long as you are able to ride and maintain the pace at which the ride is advertised you can ride any bike.  We do insist that your bike is properly maintained, tyres and brake pads/blocks have plenty of life in them and your bike is inherently fit for purpose.  Good advice is to pump up your tyres up to the recommend pressure for your weight, the night before a ride (just in case it all goes wrong!).  Despite all the claims about mini pumps and their ability to pump 100psi plus you will find it infinitely easier using a track pump.

What if I’m not as fast as the others on the ride? – If you find yourself biting off too much, don’t worry, we won’t let anyone get dropped or left behind and don’t be afraid, it often takes a few weeks to feel comfortable having moved up a ride.  If however you are clearly well off the pace we will kindly suggest you head home whilst you know where you are. If new to club cycling we may even suggest youn complete a few rides on your own to increase your fitness level and then try again.  This is in fairness to other riders who expect to have a ride that meets their own requirements. Of course if we are well into the ride and you start to struggle we will ensure we get you back. If you are unsure of your ability then definitley try our Leisure Ride first and ask for some guidance on which ride is likely best for you.

Group Size
To help ensure members safety and show due consideration to other road users we restrict group sizes to 16 riders.  If a ride has a bigger turnout at the ride start the ride leader will split the numbers into two or more groups.  These groups will remain separated by a 5 minute interval.

Please accept this and willingly join whichever group you are placed in.  If you are one of our experienced members your help by co leading one of these groups much appreciated.  All should accept that the whole group can only sensible reconvene at occasional stops and naturally at the café stop.  After which the separate groups should once again form and maintain the 5 minute spacing.

What if I’m faster than everyone else on the ride? – Similarly, if you find yourself shooting off the front as you get fitter and stronger then make an effort to hold back, support the ride leader, look after newer members and next week try moving up a ride.  If you persistently find yourself wanting to shoot off the front then move up to one of our other rides.  The ride leader will ask you to keep to pace. Always remember these are club rides rather than race or other event training rides. If you insist on riding off the front then the ride leader will let you go and you have effectively taken yourself out of the club ride and hence not covered by either of the clubs third party insurance cover.  By the way this an extremely very rare occurance so please help us to make sure it stays that way!

What if I suffer a Mechanical Problem? It is important that you shout out ‘mechanical or puncture’ loud enough to be heard and it is up to everyone then to pass that message down/up the line.  Stop at the very first place that it is safe to do so to make your repair. Though we expect all those on our rides to be self sufficient at replacing an inner tube and to carry a basic multitool, spare inner tube, tyre lever and a pump on every single ride.  Usually one or more experienced riders will be all too willing to assist and get the group on the way in quick time.  Meanwhile the ride leader will have stopped the rest of the group somewhere safe and wait for everyone to rejoin.

The weather – If the Friday evening forecast suggest dangerous conditions we will cancel Saturday road rides by 8pm on the Friday and notify via the website.  This is at the discretion of the committee.  If members decide to go out regardless they do as at their own risk accepting it is not a club sanctioned ride and therefore not covered by British Cycling’s affliated clubs third party insurance.

Winter ride distances – tend to be shorter than summer and are subject to change depending on how miserable the weather is! Please try to stay together and cycle as a group.  If you decide to bale out early that’s fine but do notify the ride leader in person.  Otherwise if we find you are missing we will come looking for you.

Summer ride distances – As the weather gets warmer rides tend to extend to the greater of the distances stated in our descriptions (see weekly ‘Sticky’ posy ‘This Weeks Rides’).  Also with the exception of both the ‘Leisure and ‘A’ Road rides, occasionally a ride leader will build in an extension loop to allow for those wanting to up their miles at that pace.  Sometimes the group will split so those who need to get home will share the responsibily of getting everyone home whilst the rest do the longer option.  Please do ensure the ride leader knows which option you are taking so we can account for everyone.

FAQs for Ride Leaders

How and when to post a route – Routes for the coming Saturday should be posted by Thursday evening either directly onto the website or via a committee member who will post for you, can always use if you are unawre of any of the committee members preferred e-mail address.  A link to a map is useful but not essential as is noting where the cafe stop will be. Please do just ensure the route distance and speed fits the criteria for whichever of our rides you have volunteered to lead. You are volunteering to lead a ride you are in charge and we expect everyone to support you and make it enjoyable. That is what happens 99.9% of the time basically everyone will be grateful to you for doing your bit.  In the unlikely event anyone finds reason to moan you have every right to take the moral high-ground, something everyone else in the group is going to support.

What roads can I use? – We do not allow club rides to use the A38 or A30.  This isn’t negotiable, not even for a couple of hundred meters.  Where possible try to avoid the busier main roads but when this isn’t possible just keep an eye on the group and make sure everyone is riding safely.

Where should I ride in the group? – This is at your discretion.  Sometimes it is appropriate to ride on the front to keep the average pace right, sometimes you may want to ride in the centre to say hello to new members or keep an eye on riding discipline if on main roads.

Back markers – Make sure there is a back marker keeping an eye on things.  If you know there are experienced riders in the group who will naturally take this position then fine, if not, nominate someone you trust to be the back marker and make sure they stay there. Generally the back-marker systems seems to work well enough until the cafe stop after which it tends to deteriorate a little so make sure the latter part of the ride is as well covered.

Distance and speed – Please please please follow the rides structure; this isn’t a personal ride for the leader but a club ride within the hierarchy of other rides that go out.  Really cannot emphaise how useful to you it is to read the ride desciptions for our rides in the weekly Sticky post ‘This Weeks Rides’, scroll down to the heading ‘Saturday Road Rides’ and then below that you will find all the information you need. The ‘D’ Ride is largely made up of experienced riders who we expect to be able to decide on the fly whether the speed and distance is appropriate.  Having said that please remember the advertised speed is a 16 -18 mph and that should be stuck to if there are riders recently moved up or recently joined.

So, this average speed then…Oh, a hornets nest!  No one expects you to arrive back with the exact average showing but on a standard average ride it should be as close as possible.  This is perhaps the hardest job to do leading a ride.  Try to have a feel for the route, the riders and the perceived effort.  On a flattish short ride with a group of people you know the average may creep up a bit, on a long hilly ride it will drop.  But generally please try and keep to the stated average speeds and distances.  If there are riders who are clearly strong and keep trying to up the pace be prepared to reign them in. The words this is a club ride not a race training one should be your basis.  You can be sure everyone else on the ride will not appreciate anybody who is effecting the safety, cohesiveness and enjoyment of a typical club run.  Ideally then tell them to ride behind or alongside you. If they insist on ‘half wheeling’ or continue to up the pace you should simply let them go off and concentrate on the rest of the group.  That person has then effectively taken themselves off the official club ride and therefore not covered by the clubs British Cycling third party insurance. This issue is covered above in the FAQ’s for Riders.

What is a sensible and safe Group size

Accepting that on the grounds of safety and in consideration to other road users groups should be no more that 16 riders strong.  This may well mean splitting into two or more groups and maintaining a gap between them of 5 minutes. In such instances we expect more experienced club members to help and be willing to lead any subsequent group(s)and that reconvening occasionally during the ride and at the café stop is the only option.

Dropping riders – We do not deliberately drop riders.  Doing so is not within our club ethos and is a sure way to gain the dreaded ‘Old School’ reputation. Sure on hills everyone gets spread out but when this happens we regroup and wait.  Make sure there is an experienced rider at the back who can encourage and support slower riders.

Occasionally people join the wrong ride or decide to move up a level and struggle.  That’s fine, just make sure they are supported and if they decide to bale early make sure they know where they are going.  If they decide to carry on and aren’t holding the group up too much encourage them on.  Should you notice someone is missing stop the ride somewhere where it is safe to do so and wait a while, then if necessary find a strong volunteer or two to retrace the route. Likely a mechanical but it could also be that someone has had an accident.  Should someone suffer a mechanical or puncture this message should be relayed by those on the ride up/down the line.  The ride leader should then stop at the very first safe place and hold the group up until the mechanical has been fixed and everyone is together again.

Last Update March 2016

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