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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can anybody come on a ride?
Our all day Sunday rides cover roughly 30 miles at a steady sociable pace. If you're already riding a bike regularly, you'll probably be fine. If you bought it yesterday, try a shorter ride first. You'll need to be familiar with riding on the road and negotiating junctions. Children under the age of 16 need to be accompanied by an adult.
Will I slow you down?
If you're worried about your ability to keep up, pick one that is flat. We're never far from a railway station but we ride fairly slow so it's easy to keep up with us. If you want to walk up a hill, that's fine, we're in no hurry. It is strongly recommended that slower riders ride directly behind the leader. That helps us to pace the ride. It's much harder work catching up if you ride at the back.
What does it cost?
Nothing. All our rides are free. There is no club to join, just our email list. But do bring cash for food, drink, emergencies and any ferry crossings or train rides we might be undertaking.
What kind of bike do I need?
You can use any kind of roadworthy bike but most of our rides use unsurfaced traffic-free sections at some point so a featherlite racing bike won't be very comfortable or practical. Most ride hybrids, tourers or mountain bikes but we've also had recumbents, trikes and tandems. Check our gallery to see the rides in action.
What else do I need?
At the very least, you need a spare inner tube, a pump and some money. It's wise to carry tyre levers, a repair kit and any tools you need to remove your wheels. Some riders carry snacks but we do stop quite often. In warm weather you should bring suncream and at all other times, consider having a waterproof top or warmer clothing with you. Most bikes will accept a bottle cage so don't forget to fill your water bottle up. A lock is handy if we are leaving the bikes anywhere and essential on city rides. We can often sit with our bikes at most of our stops but a thief will take an unattended bike. An ICE contact in your phone could be useful in the event of an emergency. Don't bring the kitchen sink - it will weigh you down and make your bike harder to pedal!
Do I need to wear a helmet?
There is no law in the UK requiring you to wear a helmet or hi-viz clothing. It is entirely your choice. To help make an informed decision, click here
What happens if I get a puncture?
If you bring a spare tube, there's bound to be somebody on the ride who'll help you fit it. The ride halts for mechanical problems so that we all stay together. You can avoid punctures by picking the bits out of your tyres before you come and ensuring they are fully pumped up at all times. Badly worn tyres that have been left under-inflated out in the rain will simply explode when they are pumped up. Replace them because we can't help you if this happens. Investing in puncture resistant tyres such as Marathon Plus by Schwalbe helps.
What about if my bike has a more serious failure?
If we can't fix it, you'll need to get yourself home. That might mean a taxi or pushing it to a railway station. Our rides are unsupported so whilst we'll try our best for you, please ensure you have a means of paying to get yourself home. Bikes cannot be taken on trams or deep level tube lines.
Do you have marshals or back markers?
We do not use marshals or back markers. It is your responsibility to ensure the person behind you is still with us. If that means you have to wait at a junction for them to catch up, then you have to wait. We'll do the same for you. You also need to be aware if you are the last person and let the ride leader know that all riders are present if we are regrouping. If you don't like responsibility, ride behind the leader. If you ride ahead of the ride leader, you are considered to be off the ride.
Can I bring a packed lunch?
We nearly always lunch at a pub. Most pubs do not like patrons eating their own food on the premises. Therefore, if you bring a packed lunch, please exercise discretion.
What do those phrases mean that the leaders shout out?
We will warn of oncoming cars on quiet roads and lanes with the shout of 'car down'. This is to enable riders to fall into single file. A vehicle approaching from behind is 'car up'. You may also hear shouts or see arms pointing for broken glass or dangerous potholes and this information should be passed back along the group.
Will I be insured?
We carry 3rd party insurance. This means you are covered if you cause an accident whilst riding with us. It does not cover your bike being stolen or an accident that isn't your fault. We hope to never claim on this.
Are you associated with other cycle clubs?
We are affiliated to CTC, the national cyclists' organisation. We do not campaign on any issues and are not part of the London Cycling Campaign.
Anything else I should know?
Follow all instructions issued by the ride leader, especially bunching up at junctions and riding single file where necessary. Pass back warnings of glass and potholes and keep roads and junctions clear whilst we are regrouping. We obey the Countryside Code and the Highway Code. Our off-road sections are on bridleways or byways unless a route has been specifically designated as a cycleway. Ride at least 5m behind the bike in front on bumpy off-road paths. We give way to pedestrians, alert them to our presence using our bells sparingly and never overtake horses unless the rider has agreed it is safe to do so. We exercise care when parking our bikes and are courteous to other road users. Consider yourself an ambassador for cycling whilst you're riding with us!
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