How to cycle in a group
Joining a group ride is more than just a chance to make some new friends – there is no better way to find the best cycle routes, bike shops and cafés in your area. Whether with a local CTC group or other cycling organisation, following an experienced Ride Leader with like-minded souls can enhance your cycling – and may lead to further adventures in the great outdoors!
Your fellow riders can also give you tips on fixing your bike, improve your fitness and riding style, provide moral support and even encourage you to try out a whole new style of riding. These guidelines will show you how to get the most out of the experience:
Where do I find a ride near to me?
There is a list of Cycling UK groups or consult our UK Cycling Events guide. Contact the local group to discuss the kind of rides they do – the chances are there will be a group locally that matches your requirements. If not, they may know of others that will. Cycling UK members, whether full or affiliate members, are free to ride with any Cycling UK Member Groups anywhere in the country so contact them if you are nearby. If you are not a Cycling UK member yet, you are entitled to ride with a group up to three times before being asked to join the charity and support our vital work on behalf of cyclists everywhere.
The group should have a ride or ‘runs’ list, either in print or on a website, with its upcoming rides. Some groups also use social media such as Facebook and Twitter. It’s a good idea to contact the Ride Leader first to let him or her know you are thinking of coming along.
What is it like on a group ride?
You will have an experienced Ride Leader who will have a great route planned so relax and enjoy it. If you are new to group riding, let them know – they will keep an eye on you, or assign someone to do so. You will be asked to complete a Guest Registration form or signing-on sheet. Keep in mind they are a volunteer and listen carefully to any instructions. Don't try to interfere with the ride – let them lead!
He or she should explain any jargon and hand signals they may use to keep control of the group. If you fall behind, don’t worry – your group should wait for you at the next junction or at the top of a climb. Abide by the Highway and Countryside Codes – never ride more than two abreast except when passing. Shout ‘Passing!’ if you do so. Drop into single file on narrow or busy roads, unless it would be unsafe to do so.
Show courtesy to other road and trail users and be a good ambassador for cycling. Be alert to what other riders around you are doing and do not get too close to them. Shout ‘Slowing!’ or ‘Stopping!’ if necessary – smooth, gentle manoeuvres work best. Point out any road defects or other hazards to others. If you wish to leave the ride, let the Ride Leader know first.
What should I bring on a group ride?
Any appropriate bike in good working order. If in doubt, have it checked over by a local bike shop or qualified mechanic. Carry at least a spare inner tube, pump and tyre levers. Dress for the weather and bring a spare layer. Bring a drink and energy bar plus a picnic or cash for lunch if out all day.
Good lights are essential if there is any chance of riding in the dark or poor visibility.
- Find your ride at: https://www.cyclinguk.org/local-groups
- Let the Ride Leader know if you are new to riding or to the group
- Listen to all instructions carefully
- Abide by the Highway and Countryside Codes
- Have fun and come back for more!