The main event of the Club week is ‘The Club Run’, a road ride which takes place each Sunday at 9am. The assembly point is the car park at the rear of Wickham Community Centre. The first group sets off promptly on the hour but all riders are asked to arrive by 8.50am, at the latest, for the rider briefing and to organise appropriate groups. For this week’s run please see the Blog or Club Facebook page.
The Club Run is open to all paid-up members. Non-club members may also join an organised Club ride on two occasions but are then required to join before participating in further rides.
The Club Run is ridden over designated routes which are carefully planned round the best cycling roads in the area – mostly country roads with little traffic, a few hills to provide a challenge, and usually a coffee stop on the homeward leg.
For safety reasons the rides are all run and managed according to British Cycling guidelines and in accordance with their insurance conditions. This ensures that ride leaders and the Club are insured against third party claims. Additionally, all members/club ride participants are strongly advised to have their own personal insurance to cover their individual needs and liabilities whenever they ride. (Membership of British Cycling includes suitable third party insurance.)
Riders are divided into groups during the pre-ride briefing because the number of riders taking part in the Club Run varies from week to week. Following current British Cycling (BC) advice, this means no more than 16 riders in the faster groups, and no more than 12 riders in the social groups. There will generally be a regular ride leader for each group on Club runs, but in all cases a member with knowledge of the designated route will be asked to act as guide. In addition, a number of Club members are First Aid trained.
- It is the rider’s responsibility to notify the ride leader of any medical conditions that may impact his/her performance.
- Tri-bars are not allowed on the club run.
- Nominated ride leaders will have the mobile numbers of the Club Ride Captain and Club Secretary. In the case of an incident, this must be reported to the club secretary and a BC Incident form completed and signed as soon as possible.
- In the event of an incident, the first aider will attend to any injuries. A nominated person will be charged with calling emergency services and communicating with the club ride captain and club secretary. Every notifiable incident must be recorded on the appropriate BC form.
The club runs follow several routes around Hampshire and the neighbouring counties. The routes vary from 25 miles to 60 miles, and the choice of route is different for each of the club run groups. Routes are usually announced a few days before each club run and will be displayed within this section of the website as well as on our Facebook page. The maps for each of the routes will be in the link for that week’s ride, as well as on the ‘Club Run Routes’ pages. Using the ‘Ride with GPS’ web site allows routes to be downloaded direct to your GPS device, if you have one.
Very occasionally variations have to be made during the ride (e.g. because of road works), but the groups will normally follow the mapped routes.
Winter Ride Policy
During the months of Dec, Jan and Feb if there’s a possibility of ice on the roads, then the ride will stay on southerly routes. If there is a probability of ice the ride will be cancelled. The overall responsibility for the ride will always be that of the leader of the day. If some members wish to start at 10am or later they are free to do so but not as part of the official club ride.
Club Run Groups – Which one is best for me?
If you are enjoying rides of two and a half to three hours over distances of 25-40 miles and want to try group riding with like minded people then this is a great place to start. The average speed is 13-15 mph including hills. You’ll get a fresh perspective on your local area, spending most of your time on quiet roads, with a coffee stop along the way where you can get to know your fellow riders.
In addition, about once a month we run a Social Lite group which follows the published Social route but at a slightly easier pace. This ride is open to anyone wanting an easy, recovery ride, but it is mainly intended for new or prospective members getting used to group riding for the first time.
The Intermediate Group
This group is for those who are used to longer rides of 35-50+ miles and are happy at a slightly quicker average pace of 15-17mph. This group will suit most club riders and is a great step up from the Social group for the improving rider.
The Fast Group
This group is for experienced, competitive riders who are well used to riding in a fast-moving group and are comfortable maintaining an average pace over 17mph over distances of 50+ miles. Extensions may be made, with the agreement of the group and dependent on the weather & road conditions.
Young Riders (14 – 18)
Sorry, the club run is not suitable for under 14’s. Young riders are welcomed to the club run when 14 or older, but there are a few rules that need to be met first by rider and parent / guardian.
Please bring your parent/guardian to the clubhouse on a Tuesday evening with a membership form, so we can explain the risk assessment of the club runs and exchange contact numbers. You will need to bring a membership card on the club run or alternatively under 16’s are welcome on the ride accompanied by parent or guardian. You will also need to bring a mobile phone, charged and with credit along with the other necessary items set out as standard in the ‘What Should I Bring?’ section below:
Please bring along your membership card to the club run, or fill out a membership form including parental/guardian consent. No money is required until you are happy to join the club, please also bring a mobile phone, charged and with credit. Parental Consent form can be downloaded here.
What Should I Bring To The Club Run?
It is obviously important that your bicycle is in good, roadworthy condition, especially the tyres. You must also bring a helmet. Whether you wear one at other times is up to you, of course, but helmets are compulsory on the Club Run ! It is also wise to bring at least one full water bottle (two if it’s in the heat of summer), whatever food works for you (energy bars, bananas, etc), and sufficient tools and spares to cope with minor mechanicals at the roadside: at least one spare inner tube (most of us carry two), a set of tyre levers, and a pump and/or CO2 inflator. Most riders carry a mobile phone (and a plastic bag to keep it in if it looks like rain). It is a good idea to have an emergency contact number saved under the name ‘ICE’ (for ‘In Case of Emergency’) to your directory. Remember, if your phone is locked, it can be harder to find emergency contact information.
Dog tags/bracelets are great for keeping emergency contact information and other information, such as allergies or medical conditions, readily accessible on your person in the event of an accident or emergency. You can also get emergency contact phone lock screens, such as those available from One Life ID, you can check them out and find more safety equipment from them here.
Riding in a Group
If you’re not used to riding in a large group, joining the Club Run for the first time can seem a bit intimidating. But it’s really just about riding safely and responsibly.
We always comply with the Highway Code and go at a pace which is appropriate to the road conditions, so the only difference from your day-to-day riding is that on the Club Run you will be riding closely behind and alongside other riders, (and with other riders close behind you). That imposes some additional disciplines:
(i) If you are inexperienced, and particularly if it’s your first time, make sure to let the rest of the group, and especially the ride leader, know before the ride sets off.
(ii) Ride in a consistent, predictable manner so that the rider behind you doesn’t get caught out by you suddenly changing line or abruptly slowing down.
(iii) On the flat, the group will generally stay together with the leader at or near the front. However, on a long climb, the ride leader will usually suggest that everyone rides at their own pace, and then regroups at the top. The same applies on a fast descent, because some cyclists are more comfortable riding quickly downhill than others. If you are not a confident descender, ride within your limits and let the faster ones go; everyone will regroup at the bottom.
(iv) The group may also become split in traffic, often because the traffic lights have changed before the whole group has crossed the junction. We don’t ever ride through red lights; the front part of the group will slow up or wait for the others to catch up once the lights have turned green again.
(v) The riders in the group can help the ride leader by passing instructions and information down the line, and letting those at the front know when anything happens at the rear that they need to know about. Shout out loudly if the pace is too fast and people are being dropped, somebody has punctured or had a mechanical, or something else untoward has happened.
(vi) Each rider is responsible for his or her own safety, but when riding in a group it’s important to help each other by pointing out obstacles such as potholes which the rider behind you might not be able to see until the last moment. It is important also to indicate clearly when you are about to move over, slow down or make a turn.
(vii) Let those in front know if there are cars being held up behind or just about to overtake on a narrow road – call out “Car Back !”. In the same way, alert those behind if something similar is about to happen from the front – “Car Up !”. If you are riding on a main road with a constant stream of traffic and plenty of room for overtaking there is no need to call out every time a vehicle comes past, but it’s important to do so on narrow country roads, especially if riders need to single up to let them pass.
British Cycling (BC) has some excellent advice to get you used to cycling in a group. The advice can be found here.
Here is a link to a short video produced by ‘Cycling Weekly’ to help you understand some of the hand signals used on the group rides.
The Global Cycling Network channel on YouTube is another excellent source of guidance.