Always ride with your head up looking ahead. Its amazing how often cyclists ride into the back of stationary objects.
A helmet is a must and will save most cyclists from a nasty bang to the head at some time during their cycle career.
Wearing bright or reflective clothing is recommended at anytime but especially during the winter months when daylight hours are shorter.
HiViz green has been scientifically proven to be the most visible to other road users. If you can’t bring yourself to wear bright clothing then LED cycle lights are now cheap and readily available.
Learn the “Life Saver”. When moving off or changing direction/position on the road, take a quick glance behind you in order to check all is clear and it is safe. The skill is to be able to do this while still cycling forward in a straight line. This takes practise, but after time will become second nature.
Don’t ride in the gutter / through potholes, keep at least a third of the lane width out from the side of the road, but be prepared to move in to allow traffic to pass.
If riding in a group, you are allowed to ride two abreast but be prepared to go single file to allow traffic to pass. It is a simple courtesy and keeps everyone happy.
When approaching horses slow down and shout so that the horses and riders are aware. Horses are very easily spooked causing danger to their riders and any traffic.
What bike do I need ?
If you want to join a club ride, then you will need a road/gravel bike or a hybrid. If you are buying a bike for the first time, then there is no substitute for going to a bike shop and going for a test ride. Getting the right size of bike is absolutely key, to get this wrong can be an expensive business !
Most bike shops will offer a fitting service or at least give you good advice on the right size for you.
If buying directly from an internet shop then you really need to know the size and geometry that suits your body shape.
The two most important dimensions on a bike are the seat tube height and the top tube length. Note that each brand has its own specific geometry (frame triangle) and may differ significantly to another brand.
Equipment to carry
Carrying a spare inner tube, tyre levers and a pump is essential. All riders will encounter a puncture at some stage. The trick is to be able to deal with it especially if you are riding solo. You need to be self reliant and be able to get home on your own.
What clothing do you need ?
Traditionally riders wear lycra (or similar material), the main reason being for comfort and function.
A typical lycra cycle jersey will wick away the sweat on a hot day and keep you comfortable. It will also have pockets at the back for all the essentials, phone, inner tube, fruit bar etc.
The most comfortable shorts to wear are bib shorts, which will include a pad to keep you comfortable on the saddle.
A breathable winter jacket is a welcome addition to your cycling wardrobe in the colder months.
During colder months it’s very important to keep your feet warm. A good pair of cycling overshoes can help keep your feet toasty and allow you to carry on riding in the worst of the winter weather. Overshoes are generally made from either thick neoprene or lighter, windproof, fleece-backed fabric. They’re designed to keep the cold, the wet, or both out – with holes at the bottom to allow your cleats to connect with the pedals.
Tip – buy overshoes that are larger than you think you need as you don’t want them too tight. So if you have medium size feet, get size large overshoes
Pedals, cleats and shoes
When starting out, most riders use flat pedals and trainers.
But it is possible to ‘upgrade’ to using cycling shoes, attach cleats and use pedals that the cleats fit in to. This gives a more efficient pedal stroke and confidence that your feet don’t slip off the pedals. The most popular styles of cleat/pedal are SPD, SPD-SL, Look/Keo.
Saddle Sore ?
Most riders will encounter soreness while sitting on the saddle. There are number of things you can do to sort this out.
Apply lubrication on the bibshorts pad and/or yourself, using Chamois cream, Aqueous cream, Vaseline, anything is better than nothing. Apply liberally !
Modern saddles can really help with this, these come with a split down the middle. Position your saddle forward so that your seat bones are sitting on the back part of the saddle and taking your weight.
Other adjustments including saddle height and stem length, can adjust your position and help correct the problem.
If you want to join us on a club ride, then you need a well maintained bike and be self reliant. However be assured there will be help on hand if you need it.
Rides are anywhere between 20 and 50 miles at a variety of average speeds and different routes.
If you want to join us on a ride, you must let us know first. You don’t have to be a member of the club to join us on a club ride, but we hope that after you get to know us and enjoy our company then you will want to. The club has a “no rider left behind” policy.
Other kit to consider when on a club ride, is having mudguards, which other riders will thank you for especially on wet roads.
Joining the Club
Its a simple process to join the club, currently only £25 per year. The advantages to becoming a member are numerous. Meeting like minded riders, hopefully matching your interests, joining club rides to explore new routes and discovering cafe stops, taking your riding skills and fitness to the next level. The list goes on.
Read more about joining the Club.
Since the first lockdown ended, we have been running our club rides with a max group size of 6 (socially distanced) in order to stay within guidelines. This has been working well, running different groups at different levels of ability.