New Starter Ride Q&A

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New starters - yourquestions answered


Rides dedicated specifically for new members are aimed atpeople who are new to cycling in groups, who are interested in joining the cluband group riding. You should be a competent and confident cyclist used to doingdistances of at least 50 miles regularly at an average speed of 15mph. These are training rides but they dohave a social side.


Each new member ride will be led by an experienced clubmember who will be happy to support you during the ride. They are not usuallyqualified coaches but maybe able to give you some tips if you want them.


New member rides are not designed for those who are new tocycling or for children. HSBC and British cycling organise Let's Ride which caterfor new and inexperienced cyclists and children, details at 


When are they?

These rides are on the first Saturday of every month. Ridesstart from BW Cycling at 9.00. Please aim to arrive at 8.45 and ask for Brianor Danny. We return to BW between 1pm and 2pm. BW Cycling opens from 8.45 am ona Saturday so you can buy energy bars, spares etc on the morning if you needthem. They also have a track pump you can borrow.


Before the ride

Read the section on group riding on this website at

Email Brian O'Kelly ( andDanny Cox ( to givethem an idea of your experience and let him know you will be coming.


On the day it's important to have a good breakfast to avoidthe dreaded "bonk" (running out of energy) which is common for thosepushing harder over longer distances for the first time – we have all done it.Bring drink, 2 water bottles if the weather is hot, and energy bars or similaras snacks. You'll also need money for the café stop, and a phone and some ID incase of emergency.


How fit do I need tobe?

We normally ride for around 50 - 60 miles, with around 1,000to 1,200 of climbing, over 4 and a half hours including a café stop at halfway.These are training rides. You need to be a competent and confident cyclist usedto doing distances of at least 50 miles regularly at an average speed of around15 miles per hour.


Do I have to ride aroad bike?

No, but most people do and it is recommended you do. Hybrid bikes may be okas long as they are not too heavy and the tyres relatively thin (otherwise youwill struggle to keep up). Mountain bikes are not suitable. Please make sureyour bike is roadworthy and you have spare inner tubes, tyre levers, multi tooland a pump (worn tyres are the biggest cause of punctures). Aerobars, tri-bars or clip-ons are not allowed on a group ride. If you have these on your bike please remove or replace them before coming on a ride.


What happens if Ihave a mechanical problem?

We rarely have mechanics ride with us, but will help wherewe can and make sure you can get home safely.


How fast are therides?

The speed varies depending upon the group and the route. Onthe hills the groups tend to break up a little as we go at our own pace andthen regroup at the top. No one gets left behind. A fair average is around 16 mph for the whole ride.


This compares to the clubrun which averages around 16/17 mphand the elite group which averages 19 + mph. On average, you will ride 1 or 2mph quicker in a group than on your own.


Do you rotate so thatpeople take a turn on the front?

Generally yes, but this depends upon who is riding and thereis no compulsion to do so.

Riding two abreast

We ride two abreast on all roads, so you need to get used to this if you haven't done it before. Of course we single out when passing cars or horses on narrow lanes and whenever it makes sense to do so. Always try to stay about a wheel length away from the rider in front and then move closer as you feel more confident. It can take several rides to become confident riding in a group, but you will get encouragement from the other riders and just ask if you have any concerns.

Which routes do youuse?

We have various routes including to Cheddar, Usk, Tintern,Slimbridge and Fenny Castle. The route chosen is normally decided on the daybased on weather, wind direction and where we went the previous week.


Can I leave the rideand come back early?

Yes, but please let the leader know before you do.


I am new to the clubdo I have to wait until the first of the month to ride?

Not necessarily. The dedicated new member rides are once amonth. If you have never ridden in a group before you should wait for one ofthese.


If you are confident in a group, for example you haveexperience with another club, you are welcome to do join the clubrun on otherSaturdays: e mail Brian as above.  Pleasenote, if you are dropped from a clubrun, the group may not wait for you, so ifyou are unsure whether you can hold the pace, the new member rides are a much moresuitable starting point, as no one gets left behind.



Cyclists love talking about cycling and sharing theirknowledge. Don’t be afraid to ask, whether about kit, nutrition, riding tips,racing, best places to ride, which sportives to do etc. There is a huge amountof knowledge in the club with many members still riding having joined in the1960s: we have members who are ex-pro’s, people who have won national and worldchampionships, as well as those who race track, road, time-trial, cyclo-crossand mountain bikes.