Riding with us

Introduction

At the North Baddesley run start point we ask that riders form into groups based on the speed/destination. There are usually several destinations and run speeds, so please do your best to ride with a group that, from your previous riding experience, you think you will be comfortable with. We set a  maximum group size of 12.

Before moving off with his/her group, the group leader will collect the name, club  (Sotonia member or ‘guest’)  and an emergency contact number, for all going in that group.  It is each rider’s responsibility to ensure the group leader has a note of their name and details before moving off – this is important for insurance purposes as it identifies new riders. Those attending their first clubrun should complete the Sotonia CC New Rider Introduction Form which includes a Parental Consent Form for riders under the age of 18.

Mudguards: it is considered polite to fit mudguards to your bike when the roads are wet to avoid spraying your fellow riders.

The legal bit

Sotonia Cycling Club cannot be held responsible for any personal injury, accident, loss, damage or public liability and you participate in the Club’s activities entirely at your own risk. Anyone attending Sotonia CC activities, including club runs, must carry identification, emergency contact details and details of any medical or health conditions together with information about any medication that they are taking.

The ‘rules’
  1. When riding in your group you must remain constantly aware of those around you and remember that your movements in a group affect everyone. Keep a consistent speed with the riders in front of you. If the pace slows, try to soak up the distance between you and the rider in front by freewheeling rather than braking hard.
  2. Keep your eyes on the road ahead rather than the riders themselves, and try to anticipate any changes in the riding pattern. Point out and call if you see, pot holes, traffic, parked cars, horses and anything else that you would want to know about. Also warn others before turning left or right.
  3. Riders towards the rear of the group should also be attentive to approaching traffic from behind making others in the group aware when appropriate. The usual call is “car up” if a vehicle is coming from behind and “car down” when from in front. It is essential that the warning is passed along the “peloton” so that riders at the front/rear of the group hear it.
  4. No-one, should be dropped from the group or left unaccounted for. However, if you chose to ride with a fast group and the pace is too quick for you, then do not always expect the group to wait. Keep your fellow group members informed if you decide to leave the group for any reason or have a mechanical problem and need to stop. Experienced riders in the group will generally try to ensure that everyone is accounted for at regular intervals. However, this is sometimes difficult so you should make sure that if you get detached from the group you know where you are going and/or know your way back home. It is a good idea to carry a map or some sort of satellite navigation system.
  5. Show consideration to other road users. In order to allow vehicles to pass, the group should ride as a single unit with riders keeping to no more than two abreast.
  6. If it becomes necessary to ride in single file, gaps should be left to allow vehicles to overtake more easily. When singling from two abreast, the outside rider should ease off to fall in behind the rider on the inside.
  7. The group should slow down and announce their presence when passing horses and should not make any noise or sudden movements that would be likely to unsettle the animal. Equal care should be taken when passing other animals.
  8. Maintain an even pace – if you are riding next to someone, be aware of your relationship to his or her front wheel. Constantly upping the pace when the rider draws level with you (known as ‘half-wheeling’) is rude and disruptive. Please don’t be tempted to race off at the front, this merely breaks up the group.
  9. The groups should always reform if they split, for example on hills or at road junctions. Climbing hills is often best achieved by individuals choosing their own pace, when this occurs the group will reform at the top. If it becomes necessary for the group to stop, a safe place should be sought to avoid inconvenience to others.
  10. Finally, as already mentioned above, it is essential that riders;
  11. (a) know where they are going, and
  12. (b) if they get unhitched from the group for any reason they have the ability to find their own way home or to the tea stop. An OS map or sat nav can be useful for this.

We hope these few rules have been helpful and that you enjoy riding with Sotonia and will apply to join the club in due course.

Other points for your guidance:

Equipment
Your bike needs to be serviceable – It should go without saying that if you are riding on a public highway your bike needs to be in good working order and comply with the Highway Code, but it does not need to be the latest and greatest featherweight machine. So long as it is mechanically sound, it fits you and the tyres are in good condition and fully inflated, then you should be able to enjoy your cycling. Bring a couple of spare inner-tubes (to fit your bike!), tyre levers and a pump so that you can quickly sort out a puncture and continue riding with minimal delay

Sensible clothing
It has to be said that cycling-specific gear can make a huge difference to comfort and can reduce fatigue, but for the short easy rides it is not essential. Dress in suitable sports gear according to the weather conditions and remember that the wind chill factor on a bike is considerably greater than if you are running, so it is particularly important to think about this in the colder months. It is also advisable to carry a lightweight rain jacket which can double up as an extra layer in cold conditions. A cycle helmet is advised but not compulsory.

Drink
Maintaining the body’s hydration is vitally important in any endurance sport and it is essential that you carry appropriate amounts of fluids. Even a small deficiency in hydration can cause a significant drop in performance and will speed up fatigue. Allow around 750-1000ml of a water-based drink for every 2 hours of riding, more on hot days or if you are riding very hard. Specialist sports drinks are good but not essential.

Food
It is always a good idea to bring a bite to eat, even on short rides. Hunger or a drop in blood sugar levels soon accelerates the feelings of fatigue. Bring a couple of energy bars, cereal bars or bananas for a 2hr ride and more for longer rides. Better to have too much and take it home that not have enough.