Club Road Rides – FAQ’s

We require every member to read and fully understand the content of this post 

Which ride? – The club runs a variety of rides at different distances and average speeds to suit most rides whether new to riding or an experienced group rider.  Each ride is described in detail in our sticky post ‘This Weeks Rides’ you should scroll down and read the descriptions fully to understand which group you think most likely suits your ability and preference.  Please note though that the average speeds simply 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.

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 you prefer.  One thing however we do insist on is 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.  Ideally the night before the 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 drop you and leave you behind, 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 you 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.

But 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.

What if I’m faster than everyone else on the ride? – Similarly, if you find yourself shooting off the front make an effort to hold back and hence supporting the leader at maintaining the correct pace.  Should you find the ride fails to meets your own needs you should choose one of our faster options in the future.

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 will have then effectively taken yourself out of the club ride and hence not covered by the clubs British Cycling’s third party cover.  By the way this an extremely 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 by carrying at least a basic multitool, spare inner tube, tyre lever and a pump, usually one of our 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 then a club sanctioned ride and therefore not covered by either of our  affliated clubs third party insurances.

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’ post ‘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.

What about insurance?-  well something you should read in detail! See here The Clubs CTC and British Cyclings Affiliated Insurance cover

Also maybe even more important to know is that no member or guest rider is covered for personal injury or property damage by either of our two club affiliation policies. So unless take a much more pragmatic approach and purchase your own cover, you join our rides having decided you are prepared to risk not having that cover.  That means you are potentially liable if you cause injury or equipment damage to another rider.  Without stating the obvious this also means if you sustain injury or damage through someone else’s error they may not have any cover either!  So again you are responsible for the decision on whether or not that is an acceptable risk.

Generally even with everyone riding safely and adhering to our safe group riding requirements the occasional coming together is pretty much inevitable. By this we mean the sort that can result in minor damage/road rash for example. However should an incident occur that is seemingly more than that and a member has suffered consequences through absolutely no fault of their own we expect those concerned to take a fair and reasonable approach.

Be aware though that in the interest of everyone’s safety and well being, should any member cause a disproportionate number of incidents, the club will address on an individual basis and if no improvement will end in exclusion.

What about knowing how to ride in a group? – Perhaps the biggest question on everyone mind so firstly do look at our post on group riding Group Riding Techniques

Though if you are new to our rides our ride leaders and more experienced members will voluntarily guide you on the ride.  Once you have read the article in the link it may initially seem rather daunting.  It isn’t and you will quickly find it very satisying as you rapidly develop the necessary skills and confidence skills

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 unaware 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.  We have a set the distance and average speed for both the Leisure and ‘A’ Rides and insist every week these are fully adhered to without exception.  This is for the enjoyment of those who are likely new to the sport or simply know their limit and can join either of the rides knowing they can manage to stay with the group.

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 do follow the ride’s described pace and distance; All our rides fit within the hierarchy of the clubs schedule, aimed at catering for various levels and preferences. You are expected to ensure the ride doesn’t drift away from its description.  Really cannot emphasise 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…  No one expects you to arrive back with the exact average showing but should be seen as a ballpark indication.  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 and no harm done.  On a long hilly ride it may creep down, no harm done.  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.  But they will appreciate your efforts to keep it contriolled.  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.

Dropping riders – We do not deliberaley drop riders.  Dropping riders is what clubs with egos do.  Obviously 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 just get out on the wrong ride for whatever reason or decide to move up a ride.  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.

Group Riding – As well as being familiar with group riding techniques see here Group Riding TechniquesYou should ensure that the ride has no more than 16 members, if more than that you split the ride and leave a few minutes gap between the two. Only regrouping at stops for communication purposes or of course at the cafe stop. This is for safety and to avoid causing undue disruption to other road users.

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