What is the club ride?

The club ride tends to be 3 – 4 hours ride time. Occasionally it might be shorter or longer. Where we go, how long we ride and in how many groups depends on who turns up. These decisions are agreed at the T-hut and succinctly communicated to all riders. Typically there are 2 groups. One rides at 22-23kph average and the other at 26-27kph. 3 groups welcome if a slower group wants to form.

We stop for mechanicals and re-grouping at the top of hills. We try to ensure we bring everyone back that we set off with (more on that later). Someone should always count how many riders set off and know how many plan to ride with which group.

We tend to periodise rides; this means in the winter months we’ll ride slower and steadier and as we build up to summer we’ll be fitter, riding quicker and riding harder up the hills.

We always like to stop for a coffee and a chat at the end of the ride, usually in Greenwich Park.

Are individuals participating in club activities insured by the club’s insurance?

No. Riders attend club rides strictly at their own risk. All participants are responsible for their own well-being during the ride and should be prepared for situations such as adverse weather conditions, mechanical problems, flat tyres and the means, if necessary, to get back home self-navigating or by train or taxi.

All individual participants are strongly advised to become a Race Gold, Race Silver or Ride member of British Cycling which provides the benefit of individual third party (public) liability insurance.

If you join British Triathlon as an individual member it provides you with the benefit of third party (public) liability insurance for the Club Ride, provided you can supply evidence that it is by way of preparation for a permitted event you have entered and you are a UK tax resident.

Please refer to the British Cycling and / or British Triathlon websites for more details.

Contingent insurance cover is provided to invitees who have been invited to participate in club activities with a genuine view to joining the club and are not already covered by any other insurance.

Am I too slow or inexperienced?

If you think you are too slow or inexperienced to come on a Club Ride you won’t know until you try. We’d much rather you tried than stayed away for fear of being too slow.

You will need to be confident that you can ride a 50k hillyish ride at >20kph. If you can do this we will generally ensure the ride out goes at a pace to get you to the top of Cudham (‘The Nower’ on Google Maps) which is approximately 25k away. Cudham itself is 6.5km long and is a gradual steady 15-20 minute climb with 155m of climbing. The ride will break up on the climb as riders go at their own pace. Once at the top if you are much slower or very new to riding we would then point you in the direction of home and you should be able to retrace your steps. If you are new to the club please do look at Google Maps to get a general feel for where Cudham is and also look at the club website where there is a route called ‘Cudham and back’ which can be downloaded to your Garmin or other GPS device.

If you are very slow and significantly slowing the group then we would politely explain that it’s probably not a good idea to venture out with us. This is unlikely to leave you stranded in Kent because it will be apparent in the first few miles. I can only recall this happening once or twice in over 10 years.

What do I need to do before I come?

If you have not ridden with the club before please contact one of the committee in advance a few days before your planned debut with a brief description of your experience and ability.

You should ensure your bike is in good working order; you should ensure your tyres are free from tiny stones and bits of glass. If they are cut get new tyres. Pump your tyres up before the club ride. You should bring 2 spare inner tubes, a pump, tyre levers, a multi-tool, energy bars, 2 bottles filled with energy drink, ideally an emergency gel in case you ‘bonk’, money, have your emergency contact details on you in an easy to find place with details of any medical conditions/allergies, a rain jacket (when you stop for a mechanical or an emergency rain jackets are invaluable) and a mobile.

What else?

No tri-bars. Helmets compulsory.

Mudguards (Bill, this makes me think of you! 😊) If it’s been wet then ideally put some mudguards on. We don’t really like looking like this (although Clive looks quite happy about it!)

No headphones.

It’s better to underestimate your ability than to set off strong and fast but later on struggle and find yourself in the middle of Kent being unable to manage the journey home. We’d rather you build up slowly. Sometimes we might tell you we think you should turn back at a suitable point, hopefully with someone who knows where they are going. Don’t be offended it’s for your own well-being. Each ride you do will make you better for the next one.

What does the Club Ride mean for different people?

 

Andy Whelan, new member: Although I've only been coming to the Club Ride for a couple of months, it has quickly become the thing I look forward to most at weekends. Firstly, I'm far from the strongest cyclist and prior to joining the Tritons hadn't ridden much as part of a group, so the Saturday morning ride been a great way to improve and learn new routes.

But over and above this, probably the most enjoyable part is getting to know and train with more Tritons, all of whom have been incredibly encouraging, friendly and welcoming. Sarah has always organised it so that there are people of a similar ability to ride with and sometimes hangs back for the more inexperienced cyclists.

Perhaps the best way to describe how welcome newbies are made to feel is to share an anecdote from my first Club Ride. Of the people who turned up that morning, there were two new faces - including myself - and Sarah kindly rode with us at our pace. Re-entering London, I got a puncture, and as I was fumbling with my tyre with freezing hands, a group of other Tritons riding past pulled over, stopped their ride, changed my tyre for me, and within a couple of minutes I was back on my way. And then I had a message from Sarah who had called around for my number, to check everything was ok! I write this on a Friday evening, very much looking forward to the ride tomorrow morning.

 

Bill Evans, long standing member, Milford Triton & Greenwich Triton: the best things about the club ride are the predictability and the unpredictability. There is always someone at the T hut at 8:30 on Saturday. It could be a team of mods on their scooters or a gang of bikers; it could even be Sarah and Clive, but there is always someone there. There is usually an ancient club ride veteran and a new member, sometimes a few others and on a warm spring morning there can be 20 or more. The last club ride I did was on 28 January (now superseded – I wrote this a while ago) in what I reckon is my 9th or 10th winter of riding with the Tritons. The only other rider was Sean Tarrant on his first ever ride with the Tritons and his first ride out into Kent. Neither of us had made an arrangement: we each just turned up, met and had a great ride. If there is a bigger group there will usually be someone willing to ride 100km non-stop and someone else happy to do a gentle 40km with a cake stop. Tritons look after each other. I have followed the wheel of one guy to get me home before dark one week, only to be able to return the favour a few months later after he had gone through a bad patch of training.

 

Nadja Brouwer, pocket rocket:
- Friendly
- Great way of meeting new people & new routes
- Lots of knowledge & experience to make use of
- Love the coffee afterwards

 

Adam Spiers, IT geek, Cello Maestro: well it's very simple for me - I come along to ride with lovely people in beautiful countryside. Knowing that other people are departing at 8.30am is usually just about enough to kick my lazy arse out of bed ...

 

Martin Greetham, strong and Northern: I would say: it's fun, it's a friendly group (providing you can make it up Cudham in a time acceptable to Simon Sayer :-) I like the bike chat around a coffee after a morning ride, and if your legs give out on the way back you can always get a tow from Clive and/or Dave Landers. It’s also fun being able to witness the budding romance between Keith H and the lady in pink from Sidcup Cycles (Pink - surely Kent Velo Girls? Ed) 

 

Bern Henry, long standing member, can be persuaded to do crazy rides (if I am persistent): We get to ride fantastic routes that would otherwise be unchartered. Post ride food and company is unsurpassable.

 

Nienke Hensbroek, tough Dutch, rouleur: The Club Ride is a great way to get to know other Tritons as there is lots of time to chat and it’s much easier to chat than in a swimming pool. I love the routes through the Kent countryside. Without Clive and Sarah’s route knowledge it would have been much more difficult to fin my way to the best climbs, lavender fields and prettiest views. It’s a relaxing start to the weekend. (Ed – are you sure?)

 

Amanda Cassidy, from Limavady and claims to have no sense of direction: The Club Ride gives us an opportunity to cycle every Saturday. All levels are welcome, even me who is the slowest in the group! Everyone is encouraging and no-one is left behind. (Ed- you’re not slow).

 

Gary Shaw, Chairman, crazy (no offence), Ironman: Never do Regent's Park laps the night before a cub ride! I like to think I'm a reasonably strong cyclist and tend to like being a bit of a lone wolf on the bike. However, the great thing about a cub ride is you will always find a group who are just that bit stronger and faster than you are, which keeps you on your toes, having to turn the pedals just that bit harder, chase that bit faster and try to look composed when you all put up at a junction or a waiting point. You feel as though you are out with true cyclists, who have a passion for their bikes, the routes that are taken and are genuinely interested in the other Triton's training and racing. It's a great feeling to have.

 

A few Strava fly by screen shots from our ride last Saturday to give you a feel for what happens:

 

The group spread out but all together going up Cudham

 

Brad and Nadja lead Andy, Amanda and Sean home for a shorter ride whilst the others head South

 

The faster ‘long’ group about to meet the ‘slower’ group for sausage rolls at a village shop near Bewl Water