It is essential that we have the name and contact details of all ride participants. Please complete our contact details form before coming on your first ride with us. If you are unable to complete the form, please send your name, address, phone numbers and Cycling UK membership number (if you have one) to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Data privacy statement.)
In Case of Emergency (ICE) card
We recommend that everyone riding with us should carry a mobile phone set to allow access to emergency contact details (for example, using with a Medical ID app). Otherwise, please carry one of our green ICE cards somewhere it will always be with you when you ride with us. Should we ever have to use it (we haven’t yet thank goodness) we would look in your saddle bag, your tool kit and your wallet/purse. Ask a Committee member about ICE cards at the start of any ride
You and Your Bike
Our club is about leisure rides with fine countryside, good company and good cafes, not racing. However, so rides can be completed in reasonable time, all our groups have a published average speed. On flat terrain and/or with a tail wind, riders will often travel a little above that speed, but this is compensated for by slower speeds uphill or against the wind; each ride’s average speed should be close to that published. Please try to choose a ride within your capabilities. Whilst leaders will do their best to keep a group together, if you find you are significantly slower than the group’s scheduled speed please be prepared to tell the leader that you are turning back.
You are welcome to participate in rides on any kind of bike that you can ride at your chosen group’s speed. It is your responsibility to ensure that your machine is safe, and legal to use on UK roads. If it is not, your third-party insurance from Cycling UK is likely to be invalid.
Riding in a group
If you have not ridden in a group before make sure to read the Cycling UK Group Rider Checklist. For a fuller guide to the etiquette of group riding see The Wheel Easy! guide to cycling in a group. The following points concern specific issues that have arisen repeatedly in the group.
Contacting the leader during your ride
In order to coordinate the ride effectively the leader needs to be informed about what the riders are doing. These mobile numbers are provided for that reason. Use these numbers if you have a problem during the ride and are unable to pass a message up the peloton. Be prepared to leave a voice message or text. The leader may not be able to take your call or reply immediately.
Leaders will sometimes choose a bridleway as a small part of a route. If you have concerns about this you should contact the leader before the ride or in Exhibition Square before you set off.
Make a gap
It is easy to get carried away chatting to other riders and to forget the needs of other road users. On roads where there is motor traffic all Wheelers should split into smaller sub groups leaving gaps in between to allow traffic to pass. The general rule is, if there are 8 or more riders immediately in front of you pull back and make a gap. Tell riders who come to overtake you that that is what you are doing.
Passing the leader
Riders in the group shouldn’t in general pass the leader. Your leaders will be trying to achieve a target average speed over the whole ride. Coming to the front to give the leader a rest by taking the wind is great. Overtaking the leader in order to push the ride speed up or just to show off is not acceptable. On no account must undue pressure be placed on another rider to speed-up or slow-down. Everyone is encouraged to stay together – we must not deter any member of the group from enjoying the ride.
Leaving the ride
On the way home riders will peel off at different points in the ride. When you are about to leave the ride, please try to inform the leader directly, or by passing a message up the peloton.
Please use a bike with mudguards and consider fitting an additional mudflap. If caught out without mudguards by unexpected wet weather please ride at the back of the group where you will not spray other riders.
We always intend to be back before dark but you should always take lights on those dingy winter days in case we are late back or just to be seen. If you have a very bright back light consider switching it to a dimmer setting when in the peloton so as not to dazzle the rider immediately behind you.
Our rides can only take place because of the members who volunteer to lead rides. Though it may seem daunting, leading a ride is not especially onerous. We can never have too many people willing to lead rides and the more there are the less often each person will have to do it. If you are regularly riding with us, you should be asking yourself if you could sometimes lead a ride. For most people, the answer should be yes.
If you feel you should do your bit but are not confident about leading a ride, just ask the Rides Coordinator, who will be delighted to arrange support from an experienced leader for your own first ride or two as leader.
Before the day, the main responsibilities of a leader are to plan the route and to contact any cafés planned for elevenses and lunch (the Rides Coordinator will usually have suggested the venues), to check that they can cater for 10 – 20 hungry cyclists. On the day, the leader will be the main route-finder and will aim to keep the group together and safe. Cycling UK publish a more detailed guide to leading group rides.