We have a Sunday morning club ride each week, meeting at 7.45pm outside the Marks & Spencer supermarket in Hampstead (next to the royal free hospital) for an 8am start.
This is a members meet and ride session, we have two GPX club routes which you can download, one route is around 55km and the other is around 90km.
The rides are a great way to improve fitness as well as a chance to meet other members. The focus on the rides is steady aerobic riding to help build strong endurance. We incorporate lots of sportives into the club training program.
In the summer we also do a Thursday evening club ride.
What do you need to bring?
- Bike – Check your bike and helmet to make sure it is road worthy before leaving home
- Tools and Spares – Carry at least the following equipment / spares:
- 2 spare inner tubes
- Tyre levers
- Pump/CO2 Gas Cannister
Ideally you should be able to fix a puncture. If you can’t please let the ride leader know before you set off and they can arrange for someone to show you if required.
- Food and Drink – Ensure you bring adequate hydration and food. As a minimum:
- 750ml of water/energy drink
- A small snack (flapjack / energy bar)
- Extras – Bring a mobile phone to use in case of emergency or if you become separated from the group
- Carrying some small change is also a good idea
Up to date emergency contact details. Consider a RoadID bracelet or something similar.
What should you wear?
- Helmet – Although not law we would request all club members to wear a helmet on all group rides
- Clothing – If you have it and conditions suit wear club cycling kit with pride! Depending on the weather bring suitably warm clothing. This could include:
- Short or long Cycling Bib shorts
- 1 or more Cycling top
- Hat / Ear warmers to wear underneath your helmet
- Waterproof / windproof jacket
- Shoe covers
- Arm / Leg warmers
- Base layers
- Glasses – Though not compulsory for group rides it is advised for people to wear glasses (with appropriate light transmission).
Here are some tips on cycling etiquette that should to be followed for safety. Here are the key ideas:
- Complete a safety check of your bike, helmet and clothing before arriving for the ride
- When you arrive, sign-on with the ride leader by providing your name
- Let the ride navigator know when you are leaving, particularly if you won’t be staying with the group for the whole ride
- Keep your eyes open! – The key one is to watch the ride leader and the people closest to you. Going downhill, they may want to slow down. Going uphill, they may stall. Don’t forget, when riders get tired, concentration is lost
- Be consistent – When group riding the pace should be constant or adjusted smoothly as a unit but it isn’t always the case
- Teamwork – Give a helping hand, watch for problems (loose straps, loose equipment), and help each other to be safe and enjoy the ride
- Be Predictable – Group riding requires even more attention to predictability than riding alone. Other riders expect you to ride straight, at a constant speed, unless you indicate differently. If you know the person in front of you like the back of your hand then ride close to their wheel but if you’re not used to riding behind someone or the pace of the line is changeable then keep a safe distance back. Use your own judgment but air on the side of caution
- Communicate – Use hand and verbal signals to communicate with members of the group and with other traffic
- Hand Signals – Hand signals for turning and stopping, and parked cars
- Verbal Warnings – Along with hand signals, verbally warn cyclists behind you of your changes in direction or speed. The lead rider should call out “left turn,” “right turn,” “slowing,” stopping,” etc. Announce a turn well in advance of the intersection, so that members of the group have time to position themselves properly
- Announce Hazards – When riding in a tight group, most of the cyclists do not have a good view of the road surface ahead, so it is important to announce holes, gravel, grates, and other hazards. Indicate road hazards by pointing down to the left or right, and by shouting “hole,” “bump,” etc., where required for safety. Everyone in a group should be made aware of hazards. However, not everyone needs to announce them
- Change Positions Correctly – Generally, slow traffic stays left, so you should try to pass others on their right. Say “on your right” to warn the cyclist ahead that you are passing
- When riding as a group a ‘draft pack’ often forms where each rider takes his or her turn on the front. The time at the front can vary but each person should stick to the time decided for the particular ride then pull off to the right when safe to do so (i.e. Look over your shoulder to watch for traffic) the line should pass on their left and they should rejoin at the back
- It is considered impolite and potentially dangerous to move out of position and ride up the inside of the pack. Riders may not expect you to be there. It also can be dangerous to cut into the middle of the pack when peeling off the front. This is acceptable if planned to “protect” someone or if traffic dictates it is safest and a gap is created for you
- Watch For Traffic coming from the rear – Even when you are occupying the proper lane position, it often helps to know when a car is coming. Since those in front cannot see traffic approaching from the rear, it is the responsibility of the riders in back to inform the others by saying “car back.” Around curves, on narrow roads, or when riding double, it is also helpful to warn of traffic approaching from the front with “car up”
- Watch Out At Junctions – When approaching junctions the lead rider will alert those behind to the change in speed. Each cyclist is responsible for deciding that the way is clear before entering the intersection, it is the leaders responsibility to dictate the pace so that the group is reformed. (It is a shame to break a group of similar abilities just because the people at the back got caught by the lights.)
- Leave a Gap for Cars – When riding up hills or on narrow roads where you are impeding faster traffic, leave a gap for cars between every three or four bikes. This way motorists can take advantage of shorter passing intervals and eventually move around the entire group
- Move Off the Road When You Stop – Whether you are stopping because of mechanical problems or to regroup with you companions, move well off the road so you don’t interfere with traffic. When you start up again, each cyclist should look for, and yield to, traffic
- Ride one or two Across – Ride single file or double file as appropriate to the roadway and traffic conditions and where allowed by law. Even where riding double is legal, courtesy dictates that you single up when cars are trying to pass you if the lane is wide enough for them to safely do so
- Two at the End – For safety and as a courtesy, if the group spreads out, the last two people should adjust their speed to ride as a pair. If either should need assistance they will have a helping hand
- Follow the rules – Abide by the rules of the road and remain responsible for your own safety for the duration of the ride. The Club recommends you take out insurance cover whilst training as well as racing. More information about BTA membership (which includes insurance cover can be found on their website – www.britishtriathlon.org. Other organisations such as British Cycling and the CTC provide similar cover whilst cycling, so you should decide which is most appropriate for you.