If you’ve never ridden with us before, this page covers all the basic information we think you need to know based on all the questions we’ve had in the past. If there’s something you’d like to know that isn’t covered here, get in touch.
On this page, you’ll find information on:
- What should I wear?
- Is my bike suitable?
- What should I bring?
- Easy, medium or hard – which ride is right for me?
- What do ride leaders do?
What should I wear?
We’re happy for you to wear whatever you want. Some of riders wear leggings and skirts, others wear lots of lycra.
However, some clothes are more comfortable for cycling. We’d recommend bringing a waterproof jacket, and in colder weather, warm gloves and additional warm layers that can be removed or added as needed.
Really baggy trousers and long skirts can get caught in chains and the seams of jeans can be very uncomfortable on longer rides.
If you want to wear a helmet or a hi-viz jacket that’s fine too but we don’t insist on either. One exception to this is on any off-road rides, where helmets are compulsory.
Is my bike suitable?
Most of our rides are suitable for a range of bikes – hybrids, mountain bikes, road bikes. This includes all of our Rides for All, Tuesday Totters, and most London rides. If a ride listed as off-road you will need a mountain bike and for our longer road rides a heavy mountain bike is not recommended.
If you are in doubt about the suitability of your bike, the ride leader will be pleased to advise you. Their contact details should be at the end of the particular ride’s information on our calendar or on the event post for that ride on Facebook.
What should I bring?
Basic Equipment you should always bring on a ride:
- a spare inner tube to fit your bike,
- Tyre levers to remove tyre
- a bike pump and tools to remove your wheel if it isn’t quick release
- lights if there is a possibility of them being needed
- drinks and snacks
- a lock (for most of our country based rides a cheaper cable lock is usually sufficient; however, in London, it’s advisable to use two good locks)
You might also consider: a helmet, sunglasses, a mobile phone, money, maps or GPS and a first aid kit.
Easy, medium or hard – which ride is right for me?
Our rides are described as easy, medium or hard. These are subjective: one person’s easy ride could be quite a tough ride for someone else with less experience or base fitness. However, this is a rough guide to what we mean when we use these descriptions:
Our easy rides are suitable for the less experienced rider and (accompanied) children are always welcome. Easy rides will be:
- less than 30 miles
- on mostly quiet roads or traffic-free paths
- without steep hills or difficult off-road sections
- ridden at a leisurely pace
Our moderate rides are suitable for riders who want to develop their stamina and will be:
- 30 – 50 miles
- Maybe one or two hills
- may include a few busier roads than our easy rides
- ridden at a slightly faster pace averaging around 10-13mph
Our hard rides are suitable for riders who already have a fair amount of stamina, bike skills, and experience. They will be:
- 35 miles +
- usually hilly with several steep and sometimes rough descents
- on roads that may be busier with fast traffic (although we try to avoid this wherever possible!)
- ridden at a faster pace, especially on the flatter sections. Where we may reach up to 20mph if the wind is in our favour! But over the whole ride, with slower speeds uphill, averaging from around 10 to 14 mph pace. This will depend on a number of factors and we do adjust our pace to accommodate slower members of the group. However, although we don’t race please bear in mind, if you average 10 to 11pm on a flattish ride, you will really struggle to keep up on a very hilly ride. (A good ride to have a go on, if you’re not sure, is our Flat Kent ride. Train assisted, pretty flat, with an optional hill to test yourself on and plenty of bailout points if it does prove to be a bit too much.
If are unsure if a ride is suitable for you, contact the ride leader who will be pleased to advise you. Their contact details should be at the end of the particular ride’s information on our calendar or on the event post for that ride on Facebook.
What do ride leaders do?
All our rides are led by a Ride Leader. Ride Leaders are experienced Lewisham Cyclists. They are not always qualified mechanics, first aiders, or cycle trainers but will happily assist individuals, to their best of their ability as skilled and enthusiastic cyclists.
Ride leaders are responsible for:
- planning the route
- providing ride information in advance of the ride (including train times and access to attractions if applicable)
- directions during the ride
- ensuring refreshment and toilet stops are available
Our ride leaders are often supported by at least one marshall who supports the leader and helps keep the group together. You’ll often find the marshall at the back of the group, making sure no one gets left behind.
We always try to keep the group together and usually ride at the pace of the slowest. However, sometimes this isn’t possible and the ride leader may decide that it’s necessary for someone to leave the ride. This is a very rare occurrence and when it is necessary the ride leader will assist them, as far as is reasonable, to get home safely e.g. getting them to a train station or calling a taxi. To help us avoid this situation, please do look at the ride level descriptors above and be realistic about what you can do.
Individual riders must take responsibility for:
- checking the information given for the ride, so that you can judge that you are capable of completing the ride
- informing the ride leader if they have any medical conditions that are important for the ride leader to know about
- providing the ride leader with their phone number and details of an emergency contact
- the road-worthiness of their bike
- their own personal safety on the road
- complying with the highway code
- carrying enough refreshments
- the safety of any children with them
- listening to, and following, ride leader and marshall instructions.
- informing the ride leader if they wish to leave the ride (so we don’t end up looking for you)
- any loss or damage caused (e.g. scratching the paint on a parked car) *
* If you are an LCC member, your membership includes third party insurance which would cover this. We strongly recommend all cyclists have some sort of third party insurance cover. We’d recommend the London Cycling Campaign as the best organisation for leisure and utility riders in London.