All posts by Andy Henderson

Ride leader guidance for pop-up rides

This note describes how you and other ride leaders can set up and manage Pop-up rides, including how to use the new web services we have created.

We have tried to make the web services as straightforward as possible. If you get into difficulties using them, please get in touch with Andy Henderson and he will do what he can to help. Andy will also be interested to hear any improvement suggestions you have.

Please click any of the following for more information...

Yes. To be covered by Cycling UK guidance insurance, rides must be led by a leader registered with Cycling UK.

Yes, in that they have to follow Cycling UK and PCTC guidelines, as before.

No, in that they are limited to a maximum of six riders (including you) and must follow Government social distancing guidelines. Only riders you invite are allowed to join your ride.

You will need to take particular care at junctions and stops to ensure riders don't bunch up. It might be more difficult for everyone to get through a junction in one go, so be prepared to stop on the other side.

When passing pedestrians and horse riders, you might need to pull away from the kerb to observe distancing rules. Give plenty of notice using a clear 'arm outstretched' indication to your group and other vehicles that you are pulling out.

No. You decide how many people you want to ride with. While we are trying out the new system, we suggest smaller rides of three or four people, but it's up to you how big your rides are.

Not necessarily. We want our rides to be as open as possible, so if you get more requests than you can deal with, selecting people in the order they ask to join should be the default method. There are however, some good reasons why you might use a different approach:

  • Someone might be unsuitable for your ride, or you might find it difficult to invite someone you don't know on a demanding ride.
  • You might prioritise certain types of people (best stated explicitly in your ride description). For example, you might prioritise:
    • PCTC members
    • Non-members
    • New riders
    • People who regularly join your type of ride
  • Given the limited size of our rides, you might put someone who recently joined a previous ride to the back of the queue.
  • We've put people on notice that if they fail to turn up for a ride, they might find it difficult to join another one

If at all possible, however, we want to avoid creating exclusive cliques keeping the the inclusive spirit of Portsmouth CTC rides.

It depends a little on the type of ride and your policy for prioritising requests. If you think it will take a while to send out invites for your ride, consider acknowledging requests as you receive them so the sender knows they got through.

In any case, please let requesters know whether they are invited or not (maybe putting people you do not invite onto a waiting list) as soon as you can.

Check with the web site to see if there's a similar ride that might be undersubscribed that might be able to accept additional riders.

In any case, please let everyone who asks to join your ride know whether they are invited, or not.

Check with the web site to see if there's a similar ride that might be over-subscribed or a candidate for a merged ride.

Yes. In fact it's best if we spread rides around a bit to reduce the risk of meeting on the road. We do, however, require you to give riders at least one clear day's notice (preferably more) to give people time to see your ride and respond.

There's no harm in announcing you're flexible about the start date and time. You will be required to enter one for your ride but if there's a consensus for moving the ride to a different day or time, you can update it making sure everyone you invite knows.

Yes. Different start points reduce the risk of meeting on the road.

Before you add your ride to the web site, please check other rides happening around the same time to make sure you steer clear of them. We ask that you do not describe a specific start point in your description (to discourage people from just turning up). You can, of course, contact the leader of another ride to ensure you start from different places.

Planning for Pop-up rides differs a little from other rides:

  • We are allowed to gather in public, but not indoors. We can use take-aways, but you will need to find a public, open space to consume your purchases. Our café list identifies some places offering food and drink during the emergency.
  • Toilet stops might be an issue for your ride. Try to include a public convenience (or two) into your route. We've started a relief map here.

You have the right to say no.

If you are already riding with five people, an extra person will render the ride illegal, as well as giving cyclists a bad name. If a seventh person insists on joining the ride, simply stop and do not continue until the person leaves. Worst case, abandon the ride making sure everyone is capable of getting home OK.

Please let Andy Henderson know of any abuses of Pop-up rides.

This could be tricky since we could create a large, illegal group by accident. Consider:

  • Changing your route to avoid the other group
  • Slowing down to stay a good distance behind the other group
  • Stopping for bottle-stop or a refreshments stop to stay separate from the other group

If you have to pass, do it as quickly as possible with enough speed to pull significantly ahead in a short time. While passing, try to keep as much distance from the other group as possible. If it is safe to do so, try to pass as a distinct group to make it clear to observers that you are two, different groups

We keep statistics on our rides for reporting to the AGM and Cycling UK each year. After each ride, please let Andy Henderson know the date of your ride and who went with you,

The PCTC committee will have to decide whether and how Pop-up rides contribute to the points competitions. In the meantime, we will record details of each ride to ensure none get forgotten.

Log in to the web site and go to the Add/update a Pop-up ride page. You can find it under the 'Member services' menu when you are logged-in to the site. You will see a page like this:

You need to enter just six pieces of information:

  1. The date of your ride. Click the day in the calendar. You can use the month drop-down or the arrow button at the top right to choose a different month. When you select a date it appears in full next to 'Selected date'.
  2. The start time for your ride. The drop down allows you to select from 8am to 7:45pm in 15 minute intervals.
  3. Optionally, select a grade for your ride. We provide a link to more details about our grading scheme - the page opens in a separate tab or window, you won't lose your place in the form.
  4. The maximum number of riders (including you) that you will allow on the ride.
  5. A brief title for your ride.
  6. A description for your ride. We suggest content for this box in the form. There is no practical limit to the size of your description.

When you are happy with your ride, add it by clicking 'Add your ride'.

If there is a problem with your ride, you will see an error message. Otherwise you will see a list of your forthcoming rides that should include the ride you just added (see 'How do I change my ride later' below).

It will help riders if you can update your ride with bookings made so that:

  • People don't waste time asking to join a ride that is already full
  • Members can check they are booked onto your ride before they join

To record one or more bookings, log in to the site and go to the ride page (you will see an option to view it if you go to the Add/update a Pop-up ride page. As the ride leader, you will see a 'Bookings for this ride' section that looks like this:

To change the maximum number of riders, click the new number in the first box. The change is made immediately, there is no need to click a separate update button.

To add a booking select the PCTC member's name in the 'Add a booking' box (or select 'A non-member' to book a non-member) and click 'Add this person'. Again, the change is made immediately.

As you update the bookings, the 'Current bookings section' changes to show the current list. You will see a 'Delete' button next to each entry. Click it to remove that entry from the list.

Note that member names will appear only to members who log in to the site.

Having entered at least one ride, you will see a list like the one below when you go to the Add/update a Pop-up ride page.

Click 'View' next to any ride to see how your ride appears on the site and add/update any bookings you have. Click 'Update' to see the WordPress page that allows you to change any aspect of your ride.

There's more detail on how to use the WordPress page here.

PO7-11 April 2020 edition

With the difficulty of maintaining a distribution channel in these times, Postcode Publications has decided to produce a generic version of its 'PO' papers electronically.

You can read the latest edition, which includes two articles by Mike Skiffins (a regular contributor and PCTC stalwart), here. And more about Postcode Publications (you might not realise it is a not-for-profit organisation) here.

Rides and events cancelled for the time being

Given the recommendations and actions taken to address the covid-19 pandemic I believe we now have no choice but to suspend rides and group meetings until further notice.

Cycling is still an excellent activity that is good for you. You could try one of the many routes on our website here, search for them here, or you could discover new routes of your own.

If you wish to contact other members remember that you can do this though the website. We would like to offer more advice on small informal rides but are unsure whether/how to do this. If anyone has any ideas/thoughts please let me know.

You can find informed Government advice here:

Please keep safe and hope to see you all back on the bike soon.

Joy Forrow
President, Portsmouth CTC

Update: Since publishing the above, we have received this advice from Cycling UK which is consistent with our position.

2019/20 Photo competition results

The competition was, once again, to a very high standard.

After voting by the members who attended, the winners were:

  • First place: Anthony Beggs who also wins the photographic competition trophy
  • Second place: Also Anthony Beggs
  • Third place: A tie between Robert Sebley and Martine Hebblethwaite

You can see the winning entries below. Click any image to see a larger version.

Anthony Beggs' entry

Anthony Beggs' second place entry

Robert Sebley's entry

Martine Hebblethwaite's entry

Cathedral Challenge

Chichester CathedralWe're running a series of rides in 2020 aimed at people new to group riding or who haven't cycled for a while. They start with a short, 'get to know you' ride that includes a free bike check and progress through longer distances, tackling a series of challenges on the way:

  • Bronze: Havant to Portsmouth cathedral and back
  • Silver: Chichester cathedral and back
  • Gold: Winchester cathedral and back

That might seem impossible to you now, but here's a sample of the stories recent joiners to our rides have to tell:

Continue reading

CCP's Portsmouth News articles

Around 2002, Chris Davies - known by many as CCP - was an active club member who wrote a series of articles for the Portsmouth News. Each one described a cycle route for readers to follow.

Clive Dakin scanned in some clippings of Chris's articles that he made at the time, and scanned them. I've loaded them to the routes library having attempted to transcribe them into GPX files. I'll admit I struggled to follow some routes so there's an excellent chance I've misrepresented CCP's intention in several cases. Each route includes the original article and (highly) schematic map, so you can judge for yourself.

These are the routes:

  1. Winchester
  2. Petersfield
  3. Bishop's Waltham & Alresford
  4. Liss & Liphook
  5. Langstone Harbour
  6. Fishbourne & Goodwood
  7. Meon Valley
  8. Denmead & Hambledon
  9. Chichester Canal
  10. Chichester Harbour
  11. Bishop's Waltham & Botley
  12. Finchdean & QECP
  13. Westbourne & Stansted Forest
  14. Isle of Wight
  15. Isle of Wight 2

Logging your distance

This article explains how you can use this web site to record your distance travelled by bike. You can record individual rides, or monthly summaries, either way, you can analyse your mileage (or kilometreage) online or via a spreadsheet download. You also get to add up to three other pieces of information (such as which bike you used) to include in your analysis.

Click any heading below to see more information. Click any image to see a larger version...

To log your mileage you first have to log in to the site. This tells the site who you are and ensures your entries are recorded in the right place.

Then use the menus to click/tap 'Member services' and 'Ride logging' (see right).

That will take you to the logging screen for the current year.

Before you start logging for the first time, you can decide what you want to record in your log besides distance and destinations.

Click/tap the ‘Define log categories’ button to see the form on the left.

You don’t have to do this, but it might make your log more useful to you. I record two extra pieces of information:

1.       Which bike I used for the ride

2.       What type of ride it was

For example, I might record it was a Saturday ride on my Bish Bash Bosh.

Enter up to three categories of additional information and click/tap ‘Update category names’ to complete setting up your log.

You can change your mind later about which categories you want in your log.

Click/tap ‘Add a new entry to your log’ on the main logging screen (see above)  to record an entry, you will see something like the screen on the right.

At the top of the form, select the date for your entry. By default, the system assumes ‘today’. To make the best use of graphs, you should choose the last date of the month when recording a monthly summary.

Then enter your distance travelled. You can use either miles or kilometres (but not both).

You can see I have opted to record two additional categories of data: ‘Bike’ and ‘Ride type’. Your categories (if you asked for any - see above) appear here. Enter anything you like in your category fields (up to 12 characters).

Record details about your ride in the description box. You should at least record the destination if you are logging an individual ride. I also record key events such as “New chain” so I can look back at the log and find out how long items have lasted.

Finally click/tap ‘Add new entry’ to complete your entry.

Hopefully you agree that’s pretty easy. If you decide to record just monthly summaries, I can record them for you if you struggle with the system.

Once you have recorded some rides, you can start seeing the benefit.

From the main logging page click/tap ‘Show graphs’. We show three sets of graphs. Here are mine as at mid-August 2019

My actual distance per month, in miles:

My cumulative distance per month, in miles:

Definite incentives for me to keep my riding up!

This graph shows which distance certificates you are targeting...

You can't tell from the images, but each graph allows you to hover over a data point to reveal more information.

Maybe you want to analyse your data a different way. For example, I might want to review the distance cycled on each of my bikes. Click/tap ‘Download your log’ to download a file containing all your data that you can open in a spreadsheet – like Excel – to analyse it any way you like.

Click/tap ‘Show table’ on the main logging screen to see how you compare with other riders:

Hmm. Could do better! You will, of course see all the entries I have blanked out here. Note we show you only totals for other riders, not their log details.

We use this to award the CCP cup (for the furthest distance cycled in the year). I have no aspirations to win that cup, however, but I still find it interesting to see how I'm doing compared to other riders.

If you make a mistake, or you want to see the detail of your log online, click/tap ‘Review and change your log’ to see a list like this:

Click/tap one of the triangles next to a month’s summary to see all the detail for the month like this:

Again, this shows the categories I’m using – you will see your own. You can click/tap any of the edit buttons to see a simple form that allows you to change the entry you selected.

No harm starting now. The system works best if you log entire PCTC years: October 1st to September 30th but you can start logging at any time. The system allows you to enter your log one month in arrears - so you get all of November, for example, to log rides for October.

Let me know on a ride or via email at: Andy@PortsmouthCTC.org.uk if you have any difficulties or suggestions for improvement.

Paul Whitehead passes 300,000 miles

Paul on the ride where he passed 300,000 miles

Paul Whitehead - a past President of Portsmouth CTC - passed the 300,000 mile mark on Sunday, 31st March, while on tour in France.

He is now eligible to join the exclusive 300,000 Mile Club; something that only a handful of Portsmouth CTC members have achieved.

To put his achievement into context, that's over 12 times around the world - at the equator! Or a lot further than the distance to the moon!

Congratulations, Paul!

Change in PCTC club nights

Josie Dew asked us if she could change the date of her club night presentation so we have swapped it with the Competition Night.

Josie's presentation will now take place on Thursday 14th March and the Competition Night on Thursday 28th March.

For those who don't know, Josie is a near-local and Vice President of Cycling UK. We know many of you are looking forward to hearing her speak so please make sure you mark the new date.

Andy Henderson
Secretary, Portsmouth CTC

2018/19 Photo competition results

The competition was to a very high standard.

After voting by the members who attended, we awarded prizes to:

  • First place: Anthony Beggs who also wins the photographic competition trophy
  • Second place: Keith Wileman
  • Third place: Also Keith Wileman

You can see the winning entries below. Click any image to see a larger version.

Anthony Begg's entry

Keith Wileman's second place entry

Keith Wileman's third place entry