Find out about riding under COVID restrictions here.
We have established a new Community Cycling club for Waterlooville. We're running a series of cycle rides in the Waterlooville area for people who are new to group riding or who haven't cycled for a while. All are circular routes in moderate terrain that avoid steep inclines but may include a steeper descent. As far as possible we will avoid busy roads. Routes are all less than 30km long (most substantially less). Our aim is to make cycling enjoyable, safe and welcoming for all.
Click here to see our current ride programme.
Click on any of these headings for more information, or complete the registration form - without commitment - at the foot of this page...
Who is eligible
You need to have a bike and sufficient confidence to ride on roads and reasonably good off road routes in a small group. If you are concerned that you don’t have a suitable bike, or the right type of clothing, see below.
Our insurance requires that riders under 16 are accompanied by a responsible adult. Riders aged 17 or 18 must have a parental consent form signed by a parent or guardian for every ride.
There is no upper age limit.
If you suffer a medical condition that might limit your ability to ride, please consult your doctor before joining the ride. Please also advise us of your condition before joining a ride so we can take it into account in our planning. Please note we cannot undertake that anyone on the ride will have first aid or medical expertise.
Do I have to go on every ride?
No. It's entirely up to you which rides you decide to join.
Do I have to cycle to the start?
No. As the rides progress we hope you'll want to cycle to the start, but it's entirely up to you. All the start points are near a car park.
What support will I get?
Before the rides, we are happy to help you with:
- More information if you need it
- Advice on cycle equipment and clothing (see below)
On the day of the ride, you won't be left on your own. We will provide at least two accredited leaders who will lead the ride in one or more groups and be happy to help you with:
- Riding techniques (including tackling hills)
- Basic bike maintenance (including fixing punctures)
- Bike clothing
- Assistance in the event of a mechanical problem
- Arranging a 'take me home' service in the unlikely event it's needed
- And just about anything else you might want to discuss
What will I get out of it?
First of all, we hope you'll enjoy yourself. On our doorstep we have some of the best cycling in the country. We hope you'll enjoy discovering it from a new perspective in good company.
Cycling offers a unique - and low cost - opportunity to take on challenges that might look impossible at the outset, but are, in fact, achievable.
Then there are the health benefits.
There's a great deal of information on the web about the health benefits of cycling. Just Google "cycling health benefits" to see plenty of articles.
In summary, cycling:
- Helps your heart and cardiovascular system leading to a drop in blood pressure reducing your risk of heart disease;
- Improves fitness, stamina and strength;
- Reduces fat by burning calories reducing the risk of complications arising from obesity, including diabetes;
- Provides an excellent way to exercise:
- Doesn't need a lot of self-discipline: it's a by-product of getting around;
- Has a low impact on joints;
- Can help with specific problems, such as back and knee ailments – but you should always consult your GP before taking up any new form of exercise if you have a health problem
- Helps you stay physically and mentally active in later years;
- Can relieve stress and depression, improving your self-esteem, mood and mental well-being.
What will Portsmouth CTC get out of it?
Cycling is a terrific opportunity for people of all ages to achieve something they never thought possible. That's incredibly satisfying for us.
We don't benefit financially and the club is healthy - we'd love you to join our rides, but we're not desperate for new members.
If more people enjoy cycling locally it helps to obtain better cycling facilities.
Isn't it dangerous?
Reports in the media would have you believe that you risk life and limb every time you get on a bike! That's simply not the case. Just taking the bare statistics:
- You are more at risk doing an hour's gardening or DIY, than you are spending an hour on your bike.
- Compared mile for mile, the risk of a cyclist being killed is virtually the same as that of a pedestrian.
- Cycling UK calculates the general risk of any injury from cycling in Great Britain to be around 1 per 20,000 miles.
- The risk of death while cycling in Great Britain is 1 in 27.7 million miles.
It gets better, your risk of premature death or serious illness decreases if you cycle because of the health benefits you get from exercise.
Put that way, the risks associated with cycling are significantly lower than those of driving a car.
And it's enjoyable too. You'll find that cycling is great way to get around and meet people.
I don't like the sound of hills!
When cycling around Waterlooville, especially in the South Downs, inclines can be difficult to avoid. These routes avoid steep inclines but may include a steep descent. There is always an option to walk down them.
There are techniques we can introduce to you that make tackling hills easier, including:
- Good use of gears;
- Going slow up the hill (when your inclination is to go quickly to get it over)
- Ignoring perspective that makes hills look steeper than they are;
- Keeping speed on descents within your comfort zone by effective use of brakes;
- Before leaving home looking at the O/S map to assess alternative routes.
And then there's the psychology. The more you believe you can do a hill, the easier it becomes. That's a little circular, but the more hill-climbing you do you'll find that not only will you get stronger, but your self-belief will get stronger too.
You can find out more about tackling hills here.
Finally, our rides are meant to be enjoyable. There's a thrill of overcoming the challenge of a hill. But, if you're struggling, there's absolutely no shame in getting off and pushing. We've all done it. The group will wait for you at the top (although, it's not unusual for people pushing to beat some cyclists to the top).
What will it cost? Do I need to be a Cycling UK member?
There's no cost to join any of our rides. They are all led by volunteers.
Portsmouth CTC benefits from insurance cover negotiated by the Cycling UK charity. However, that requires us to ask you to join Cycling UK after you have tried three rides with us. We hope you'll agree the cost of membership is good value for third party insurance, a series of well-led and supported rides including free cycling advice.
But that's not all, while you remain a member, you can join any ride organised by a Cycling UK member group country-wide. You also get free £10m third party insurance cover riding anywhere in the world (besides USA and Canada) whether you are on a Cycling UK ride, or not (but provided you are not employed as a cyclist). You also get:
- A bi-monthly copy of the Cycling UK magazine 'Cycle'
- Access to volunteer-run Cycling UK holidays in the UK and abroad
- Discounts at several outlets and for many events organised by Cycling UK or events partnered by Cycling UK
- Access to the Cycling UK incident line
- Knowledge that you are supporting Cycling UK's campaigns for a better deal for cyclists
- And more
Standard, annual membership costs between £21.50 (for students) to £45. There are concessions for unemployed and older cyclists. There are also reductions for family membership, longer-term subscriptions, disabled riders and carers.
You can find out more about Cycling UK membership here.
Cycling UK members also have access to the members' area of our web site.
Do I need to collect sponsorships?
Can I use any bike?
Your bike must be safe to ride on the road. We reserve the right to refuse you entry if there's a serious problem with your bike. Having said that, it's likely there'll be a bunch of people trying to help you fix the problem.
We don't place any restrictions on the type of bike you ride and you'll be able to complete almost all these rides on just about any bike.
Please don't, however, go out and buy a bike without getting some good advice. If you don't know what you're looking for there's a real danger you'll waste a lot of money. Also, don't be tempted to give up on a bike just because you find it uncomfortable to start with. Switching from straight handlebars to drop handlebars, for example, can be very uncomfortable for the first few rides (as resale of virtually new bikes on eBay testifies). We can help you find a suitable position on the bike, but perseverance might be necessary.
If you know your bike has problems - or you suspect it might be unsafe or unsuitable, please get in touch well before joining the ride. We'll try to arrange to check it out and give you some help to get it ready for the first ride.
There's some more guidance here.
Do I need to wear cycle clothing? A helmet?
No. There's no requirement to wear any special cycle clothing.
However, comfort on your bike is arguably more important than fitness or stamina. We discuss clothing for a ride - including helmets - here.
What if I can't do the distance?
It's worth saying this is rarely a problem, even for new riders. All the rides are short, easy rides. You will be surprised how quickly the miles roll past when you're cycling.
If you find yourself struggling on a ride, please let the ride leader know (if you're at the back, ask another rider to go to the front for you). Don't suffer in silence until it becomes a more serious issue. There are several things we can do to help:
- Stop to give you a breather and a chance to have a drink and something to eat
- Go a little slower - we're not racing, we're out to enjoy ourselves
- Split the ride so that you can:
- go at your own speed
- take a short cut
We might be able to arrange a support vehicle to provide a 'take me home' service
But, distance is rarely an issue for new riders.
What if I can't keep up?
We'll slow down, or split the ride to allow faster and slower riders to proceed at their own pace. We will not leave you behind.
What should I bring with me?
We provide some suggestions here.
You will be riding with experienced riders that will have a range of tools with them, just in case. We can also help you with simple mechanical issues like puncture repairs.
Note, however, that punctures can destroy inner tubes so you cannot rely on being able to repair a puncture. Experienced riders will have spare tubes with them, but we cannot guarantee to have a replacement tube for your bike - you should therefore invest in at least one spare inner tube for your tyres (we can advise which type you need).
Hopefully, you'll want to carry on cycling. And there are plenty of opportunities open to you:
- Rides organised by Portsmouth CTC - we organise a range of different rides all year round
- Rides organised by other Cycling UK member groups - your Cycling UK membership entitles you to join any ride organised by Cycling UK member groups for free
- Rides organised by other, local cycling groups
- Cycle-commuting if you work or support a good cause; it's possible your employer runs a cycle-to-work scheme so you can buy a new bike at a big discount
- Rides to the shops, or just for fun
- Cycle holidays, there are loads out there and your Cycling UK membership entitles you to join any of the Cycling UK-organised holidays and tours.
We hope that's encouraged you to take undertake Community Cycle Club rides. If you need more information, please get in touch with the organiser. Otherwise, please register with us using the form below. There's no commitment on your part, but registration will give us a better idea of numbers and we will be able to contact you if there's a change of plans.