Join us on a social ride
Weekly Sunday Club Rides
The beautiful Hertfordshire countryside is the backdrop to our Sunday Club runs and they're a great way to explore the area and discover routes and places you may not have ridden to before. We meet at Hemel Hemel Hempstead Rail Station and leave at 09.00 am.
We have four groups to cater for riders' abilities and we're happy for you to try the club run for a few weeks to see if it's for you. To carry on riding with us after that, we'd expect you to become a full member.
If you have not been on our club rides before, please come along to the club night on a Monday evening for an informal chat so that we can understand what type of riding you are interested in and recommend the appropriate ride to join based on your experience and fitness. Alternatively, during the summer months, you can come along to the Thursday evening time trials to have a chat with a member of the committee.
If you cannot come along on a Monday or Thursday evening then please make sure that you contact our Rides Secretary, Murray Thompson on 07981 884558, in advance to talk about your experience, your bike and your expectations so that you can be advised which ride to join and what to expect. Please note that the normal runs are not suitable for mountain bikes or hybrids.
We occasionally offer introduction or easy rides, but if you are keen to get cycling then why not try one of the local Sky-Rides http://www.goskyride.com . This will get you going and once you have built up group riding skills, mileage and confidence, then contact us to see if you are able to join one of our groups.
We aim to provide safe and enjoyable rides for all HHCC members for different groups to suit varying abilities. Each group should ride at the speed of the slowest rider and re-group as needed, should the group split due to the terrain or traffic conditions.
The Sunday club rides are not intended to be training rides to increase fitness or test oneself, so all participants should respect the average speed and distances stipulated for the group as shown below.
Group A (Social)
Aim: A relaxed, social ride for riders who just want to enjoy the countryside in good company and keep fit. An ideal introduction to group road cycling for those who perhaps already cycle reasonably regularly on their own or with one or two friends, or for the returning rider after a period away from club cycling.
Ability: 36 miles in 3 hours.
Pace: Average 12-14 mph over distances of typically 35 to 45 miles. Generally over easier terrain although participants should expect to encounter some hills.
Notes: This group will not ordinarily practice rider rotation, although other aspects of riding style (especially safety) will apply (see above). Cafe stop always planned.
Group B (Social Plus)
Aim: A slightly faster social ride for riders who have a reasonable level of fitness. It offers a stepping stone between Groups A and C for riders who are increasing their fitness and riding experience and want to ride a bit further and at a slightly higher pace.
Ability: 40 miles in 3 hours.
Pace: Average 14-16 mph over distances of 40 to 50 miles.
Notes: As they grow in fitness and experience, riders are expected to contribute to the effort by taking some turns on the front rather than leave it all to the Ride Leader and the most experienced participants. Routes may be hillier than Group A. Cafe stop always planned.
Group C (Intermediate)
Aim: A sporting social ride for fitter and more experienced riders who are already comfortable riding in a group. Well suited to regular entrants of cyclo-sportives.
Ability: 45 miles in 3 hours.
Pace: Average 16-17 mph over distances of 50 to 65 miles; steady speed on flat with no wind 18 mph.
Notes: Well suited to fitter riders who enjoy a more sporting social ride but with the opportunity to recover and regroup after hills and harder efforts. Often includes quite challenging hills within the routes. Cafe Stop always planned.
Group D (Fast)
Aim: A fast ride for experienced riders. Suited to fitter riders, regular racers and challenging sportive participants.
Ability: 50 miles in 3 hours.
Pace: 17-18 mph over distances of up to 70 miles; steady speed on flat with no wind 20mph.
Notes: Good base fitness preparation for entry level racing. Riders should expect to average 17-19 mph over distances of up to 70 miles with some more intense efforts when planned by run leader. Riders should be self-reliant and not expect the group to continually wait for them if they are unable to maintain the pace of the group. Cafe Stop rarely planned.
A note on pace: the average speeds may look modest to some, but the flat speed is likely to be a bit higher than that (by 2-5mph). The averages do come down a lot when slowing for junctions and hills are taken into account.
There are often extra rides on bank holidays so give Murray a call and find out what else is happening.
GUIDANCE FOR RIDERS
As a minimum, the main ‘rules’ of riding should be:
- Stay reasonably close to the wheel in front, but at a safe distance and avoid braking sharply
- Point to or call out potholes or other obstructions, communicate with the riders
- Ride together as a group, and follow the rotation practice (even when tired and then change again to get off the front, if the Leader suggests this practice
- Advise if a rider is off the back or has a puncture. Always look after the riders behind you
- Do not weave, keep a constant, parallel (do not half-wheel) and reasonably close distance to the adjacent rider
- Follow and pass on instructions from the group Leader, communicate within the group
- Bike must be in a roadworthy condition, with mudguards in wet/winter conditions. An extended mud flap is an added courtesy to other riders. tri-bars should not be used in group riding. Riders should carry at least two spare tubes that fit your tyres and appropriate tools including a puncture repair kit with tyre levers.
- We recommend you wear a helmet. Also riders should dress appropriately to the weather conditions.
- Riders are asked to wear club kit whenever possible, new riders please wear plenty of warm clothing, it’s better to be too hot than too cold on a bike
- Follow the highway code at all times - remember we share the road with others
- Remember if you have an accident then you will have to cover the cost of repair yourself (you cannot blame another rider and claim it from them), so if you don't want the risk of damaging your super-duper machine then it may not be the best bike for the ride - accidents do happen (although rare)
Riding style - Riding for Safety (rules of the road)
- Riders should rotate frequently (Continental style), ride together and wait, or slow, at top of hills
- Riders will conform to etiquette rules, Highway Code and calling out or pointing to potholes, safe consideration and practice and listen to the rider(s) in front and the Leader or Assistant.
- Riders will ride as a tight group, two abreast at times, but will single-out when asked by the Leader or as demanded by road and traffic conditions.
- On a hill, the Leader can suggest that riders take it at their own pace for training purposes, and meet at top and allow the slower riders to rest.
- All groups (except by agreement, Fast group) will ride at pace of slowest rider, regrouping at safe location after the top of hills etc and allowing all riders to recuperate and refuel where necessary.
- A rider may be asked to move to another group (faster or slower) if their pace is considered unsuitable for the group they are currently with.
- Riders may swap groups at the café stop but should advise their respective Leaders.
- Riders should advise the Leader if they decide to leave the group for any reason.
- Riders may be asked to leave the group if poor riding standards persist, if they consistently fail to follow the guidance of the Leader, or their behaviour or riding style is considered unsafe to other members of the group or other road users.
- If a rider has a puncture or mechanical problem, the group will wait nearby in a safe location, unless the Leader advises otherwise.
- Riders should not go ahead of the pack and leader unless instructed to. If a rider feels the group is too slow for them, then they need to move up to the next group at the first opportunity.
- Leader’s role: Plan a safe and enjoyable route appropriate to the group they are leading which will include a cafe/drinks stop en route (Fast Group not applicable).
- Route to be posted on the forum and facebook page prior to Sunday morning (aim for it to be there at least 2-3 days before).
- The Leader will plan and follow a suitable route, give assertive directions and advice to riders, ensuring appropriate road safety behaviour and courtesy to other road users.
- At start, leader will introduce them self, announce the destination, route and mileage with any hazards en-route, and any other special riding plans or tips. Will also welcome and support new riders.
- Leader will plan to get riders back to Hemel Hempstead by 13:00.
- Assistant (or agreed volunteer on the day): Will cycle at the back of the group and look out for riders who may be struggling, and give guidance and coaching to other riders. Will keep an eye to new riders.
- The Leader will call out rotation changes, is assertive re route directions and giving guidance to other riders re safety and etiquette.
- Will advise if a rider is too slow, too fast, or is unsafe.
- Will ensure pace is consistent, ensuring front riders do not push the pace and go off the front
- The Leader will keep an eye out for riders who are struggling and moderate the pace if required.
- The Leader will need to be prepared to move up towards the front of the group in certain situations in order to ensure control is maintained, eg if approaching a difficult set of junctions.
The Café Stop
- The route for the ride is published and should include a Café stop.
- Riders are urged to familiarise themselves with the route prior to riding.
- The Café Stop is a vital safety feature in order to refuel and refresh to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride. It's also and ideal social opportunity for all members, particularly new people.
To ensure an organised and informed departure on club runs, the following arrangements will apply:
- Riders assemble at Hemel Hempstead Station from 08.45
- Riders meet their group and Leader at 08.55
Instructions you’ll hear while riding on a club run
Instruction & What it means
- “Car up” A car is behind the group and waiting to pass. Await instruction for your club run leader on whether to go single file.
- “Car down” A car is coming towards the group. Await instruction for your club run leader on whether to go single file.
- “Single out” Move into single file. If riding on the outside, drop behind the rider to your left.
- “Hole” or “Below” There’s a pothole or bad road surface that you should avoid. Some riders will point down, to the left or right.
- “Easy” Slow down, prepare to stop. Usually given on the approach to a junction. Do not brake too heavily unless required.
- “Gravel” There’s gravel or loose road surface, you should slow down and/or take care.
- “Clear left” or “Clear right” There’s no traffic coming from the left(right) and it’s safe to proceed. Usually given after an “easy” instruction. But NEVER rely solely on the instructions of others – you must always check yourself whether it is clear to proceed.
- “Change” Rider(s) at the front of the group come off the front according to the rotation style of the group. This list is not exhaustive but is likely to be the bulk of those used.
There is a Club Run Development Group that meet regularly to discuss future plans and development for the club run to ensure it's continuing success. If you have any ideas for this group then please contact Dougal Culverhouse or Tim Hart.