Following announcements by the UK Government and Cycling UK this week, we are resuming a limited form of group ride we call 'Pop-up rides'.
What are Pop-up rides?
Rides of up to a maximum of 6 people, including the leader, any day of the week. Click here to find out more about the background to Pop-up rides and how they will work. If you are a ride leader, click here to find out how you can register and manage Pop-up rides.
They are open to all and as time goes on I hope there will be a good variety of rides available. Leaders may want to start with limiting the ride to 3 or 4 people until we all get used to this idea.
Why start up rides again?
Despite the absence of all of our usual rides for almost 12 weeks now, many of us have been able to enjoy cycling and keep fit by riding alone, with household members and lately with one other. However there are people in the club and those interested in cycling (e.g. who signed up to the Cathedral Challenge) who are not able/willing to ride alone. They are desperate to ride but don’t have a cycling buddy and want people to ride with. It is arguably safer to ride in 2's or 3's than on their own, particularly if they are less confident. It is to give all an opportunity to ride with others we have decided to start these rides.
Is it legal?
Yes – the government changed the rules from 1 June and rides of up to 6 people are allowed. However we must stick to the social distancing and hygiene guidelines at all times.
Is it safe?
The bottom line is that you have to decide for yourself as leader or rider what risk you are prepared to take, particularly if you are in a vulnerable category. The virus is still with us and the risks are real. However, in my view, our role as a local cycling club is to facilitate rides and not to try to second guess the advice we’ve been given. If you’re happy to give it a try, do go ahead and enjoy but don’t feel obliged to lead and/or join rides.
Can only leaders set up a ride?
Like all our rides you have to be a leader registered with Cycling UK to lead a ride (and therefore set up a pop-up ride). However if you’re not a leader and want to find one or more people to ride with, members’ contact details can be found on the website if you’re logged in. Alternatively, Andy will help if you contact him.
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.
At the ride leader workshop in August we talked about running a further workshop to help ride leaders and members build confidence and independence in using GPS for planning routes and riding.
I believe that we have a lot of expertise within the Club that we could share but the workshop model may not be appropriate as there are many different systems and everyone will be at a different starting level. In order to take this forward could you e-mail me and tell me if you are interested, and what you would like help with. For example:
how to plot a route
finding and downloading routes – general
as ride leader, adding GPS to website
as ride leader, editing your ride on the website
advice on choosing a GPS
practical issues with using GPS
common GPS problems
We will need to know what system you are using. For example: Garmin or Phone.
For those who are already fluent with one or more systems, are you able/willing to help others and, again, on which devices, phones etc?
Once we know what help people want we can work out the best way to take this forward.
One of the nastier aspects of winter rides is ice or black ice (even worse because you can't see it). Several of our riders have come a cropper.
Salted roads reduce the risk. Sadly, cycle paths are rarely salted unless they're right next to roads. It might be worth diverting onto a busier salted road, especially earlier in the day, before ice has a chance to melt.
We'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:
As you may be aware we are very short of leaders for the Wednesday and Saturday Havant rides. For the current 3 month programme, initially only 4 people put their names down to lead rides. This not only puts pressure on those four but could ultimately threaten the rides. We are therefore looking for potential new leaders.
It might seem a big step, but it really isn’t, and to help with that, we’re arranging a workshop
The workshop is intended to introduce and discuss the various aspect of ride leadership.
All non-ride leaders who feel they could and would like to support the rides programme by becoming ride leaders are invited, as are existing active ride leaders. We plan to have a short ride to a café, where over coffee/tea/cake, we will hold the workshop, possibly on a Thursday morning in January (10th, 17th, or 24th). There would be no obligation to become a ride leader.
We need to settle a date, so please tell us what dates you can do and thereby we can maximise the numbers attending.
Decathlon is opening its store in Northarbour tomorrow (Thursday 25-April-2018), near the Tesco Extra, and they're offering free backpacks for the first day if you have a Decathlon account and card.
They do a fantastic range across all sports at great value, but especially cycling, and their bikes get great reviews. Disclaimer: I bought one of their fantastic folding bikes, and it's the most fun bike I've got - I'm certainly recommending it.
Previously, the nearest store was West Quay Southampton, which is a bit of a trek for us here.