You can as long as you have read the information and come adequately prepared for the ride. Also please introduce yourself at the start to one of the regular riders.
I haven’t ridden in a group before, is that a problem?
No. The advice would be to avoid sudden changes of direction and hard braking and watch for other riders pointing out hazards. Experienced riders sometimes seem to ride very close to the wheel of the rider in front but this is normal to get the benefit of the draft and is quite safe, don’t overlap wheels with the rider in front though. To start with just ride at a distance that you feel comfortable with. Also take care when descending, give other riders space, pick your lines carefully and don’t take undue risks as you could bring another rider off.
What if I can’t keep up?
You do have to be realistic about how fast and far you can ride, even riding at 1 or 2 mph above your comfortable pace is very difficult to sustain and if we advise you to consider a slower group please don’t take offence, it is important to ride at a speed that you are comfortable with. That said riders invariably get strung out and we do wait and regroup or slow the pace, especially on hilly rides, so let us know if you are struggling. We’ve all been there at some point and even experienced cyclists have bad days.
What if I have a mechanical problem?
We would stop and fix it if we can. This is one of the advantages of riding in a group, along with the safety of the bunch and the banter. We would expect you to come equipped as if you are going out for a ride on your own though. We would advise a minimum of: two tubes, pump, tyre levers, multi tool, food, one litre of drink. Other things to consider carrying are: chain tool, glueless patches/puncture repair kit, cable ties. Sometimes though something happens that can’t be repaired or you might be ill and can’t continue riding so it is always wise to have a means of getting home if possible no matter what happens. So carrying a mobile and some cash is advised.
Can I come if I’m not a member of the club?
Yes, in fact we would encourage that. Quite a few people have joined the club after doing the club runs and we’ve enjoyed the company of a few people who are members of other clubs and from people on holiday who are staying in the area. The more the merrier!
Is there a charge?
Will I need to take my turn at the front?
Not unless you want to or are a strong rider, then we might put you on front for the whole route – only joking!
Do you do hilly rides?
We live near some of the best cycling terrain in the country so it would be a shame not to take advantage of it, but we do mix it up and we take the weather into account. We tend to do more hilly routes in the spring and summer. Hills are a great way to improve your cycling too but you do need to take the terrain into account when deciding whether or not you want to ride.
Do you stop at cafes?
Usually when we get back to Great Ayton (this is optional) but we may stop elsewhere if people have the time, especially if it’s good weather and we’re doing a slightly longer route. We’d always advise you to bring drinks, an energy bar or similar and some money, just in case.