The Sunday Club Run
Johnny Mac's guide to riding safely on the club run, published in the May 2018 Gazette
The cycle club “club run” has been a part of the cycling scene since clubs were first formed and legs were thrown over top tubes. The North Road, under the glorious leadership of our Club Captains, is lucky to have a thriving and popular club run that has done much to encourage people to join and enjoy the benefits of riding with others.
It is just worth pointing out a few things so that these rides remain the success they are and make it a safe ride for everyone.
First of all the ethos of a club run is slightly different from the Saturday rides. It should be a welcoming ride for people of all abilities. Saturday rides, or the Brickendon Club Time Trial, are the place to unleash your inner Bradley Wiggins. The club run is a place to ride with your team mates at a speed comfortable for all, chewing the cud and enjoying the company. Nobody should feel under pressure or struggling to stay in the group.
Please remember that and ride a pace that all can enjoy their cycling and the great North Road “bants”. Want a harder workout, just do more turns on the front, spin lower gears or carry a weighted water bottle or ride a heavier bike . . . they will all do the trick! But don’t break up the club run group, its just not cricket!
Secondly, please ride considerately and as a group. Pair up, side by side, and keep the group as compact as possible. Don’t overlap wheels, don’t surge the pace of the group up or down.
Eight to ten is a good number for a riding group. If there are a large number of people at the start then consider riding in groups of ten with a decent gap in between to allow traffic to pass. Keep each group in sight and ride keeping your distance.
This is an opportunity of learning how to ride in a group safely and how to rotate round, this way you meet different people and have a change of conversation, it will also mean everyone takes a turn at the front if possible. These essential group riding skills can be easily acquired on the club run, at slower speeds, and will be needed when you move up to quicker cycling. Please, please, please NEVER wave traffic through. The decision to overtake should be left to the road user behind, any error in that decision based on waving through will mean part responsibility for what occurs.
Best thing is just not to do it, even if it seems really helpful and completely safe. If traffic has really built up then consider pulling over at a safe and convenient spot to allow traffic to pass. If you are not sure what to do, then never be afraid to ask one of the numerous grizzled club veterans. You can easily spot them, they all look like they have been chewing a wasp for 20 years.
Thirdly. Eat lots of cake and enjoy proper coffee. It is the real reason most of us cycle and is most definitely a requirement of the clubrun.