What happens on an organised rides
Each week, there are rides of different distances led by an experienced cyclist. The routes will be away from major roads often using little known lanes through picturesque villages. Dependent upon the group you go with, there may be several stops along the way, but there will always be a stop for lunch.
What sort of bike do I need?
Most CTC riders ride a touring bike with large wheels (26/27″ or 700c) or a race/audax or mountain bike and a good selection of gears (the picture shows a typical example). More recently, the Ďhybridí bike has become a popular choice which has a combination of elements from a racing bike and a mountain bike. Most rides are suitable for a lightweight road bike if you have one, but the CTC is not about racing, and the pace is moderate. For the Ďtrack and trailí section a mountain bike is highly recommended. Mudguards are a distinct advantage in the wet.
The most important thing is to check that the bike is in good roadworthy order. If your bike has been in the back of the shed for ages, we recommend that you get it serviced before riding it. There are number of excellent bike shops in Nottinghamshire who will do this at a nominal charge.
Small-wheeled bikes and folding bikes can be used, but they generally take much more effort to pedal and are not ideal for long distances.
What do I need to bring?
It is sensible to bring with you some basic tools, a pump, spare inner tube; some money for lunch (or a packed lunch), and a lightweight waterproof. A drinking bottle is important particularly on the longer rides, or if the weather is warm. Donít forget sunscreen!
Do I need to wear a helmet?
There is no requirement for adults to wear a helmet, and is down to personal decision and preference. However, all children should wear a helmet.
What do I wear?
Lycra shorts with a padded pad inside will make life much more comfortable, and wonít have seams that will rub or dig in. Local cycle shops have a good selection, and Decathlon in Eastwood do some budget shorts for under £10. Womenís specific shorts are sometimes a little more difficult to find, and you may want to look at the range by internet retailers such as Wiggle who have a specific womens section.
You can spend a small fortune on special shoes, gloves, sunglasses and cycling tops, and you may choose to buy some of these in due course, but are not necessary to start with.
Who leads the rides?
The rides are led by experienced and enthusiastic volunteers. They will plan the route beforehand and will know the mileage to be covered, and will set the pace for the group. All will have years of experience leading rides, and will ensure that the group stays together and no-one is left behind.
I have not ridden in a group before – is it difficult?
No, it is not difficult to ride in a group provided you have some experience of riding a bike. The ride will usually consist of some riders riding two abreast where there is space to do so, and little traffic, and single file for the remainder. You will not be riding close to lots of other riders as you may have seen on TV in the Tour de France. Advice on riding with a group.
Will I be able to keep up?
Almost certainly yes. The CTC is not a racing club, and members cycle for the enjoyment of exercise in the fresh air and enjoying beautiful countryside. There are no prizes for speed.
If you are not sure, then start off with the ĎSaturday Ridesí group run by Iris. The pace is very gentle and ideal for those who have not cycled for some time. Most of the other groups will average between 10-15 miles per hour.
I have only just started riding – isnít the CTC full of experts?
Not true. Some riders have taken an interest in cycling for years, although many may not have ridden many miles. Others have only recently discovered cycling and are still learning what it is all about. The reason for many different led rides is to appeal to a broad range of cyclists.
How many bikes do I need? – some CTC riders have several bikes
Unless you are some form of circus act, most people can only ride one at a time, and therefore one is all you need. Some riders do indeed have several bikes, and with bikes being in real terms never more affordable, some riders actually enjoy collecting bikes. There are several riders in the Notts CTC who have salvaged bikes from skips and restored them to use.
Do the rides last all day, as I donít have that much time?
The rides are as long as you want them to be. They are often scheduled to last all day for those who want to stop out all day, but any member can leave at any time (and many do), for example after the morning coffee stop. Just inform the leader.
The other members will all be older/younger than me. We have a wide variety of ages, from teenagers to those in their seventies. Cycling keeps you young! Occupations vary widely as well. Whatever your job, youíre likely to find someone within the group who has a similar one.
Isnít the CTC just about touring?
For sure, the roots of the CTC are for cyclists who tour, and many members do undertake long distance touring both in the UK and abroad. In more recent times, the CTC has undertaken a much broader remit including being one of the leading organisations in lobbying government to the benefit of all cyclists.
The CTC is active in promoting all kinds of cycling including mass participation challenge rides, off-road riding, supporting bike to work initiatives, and also supporting local District Associations such as ourselves.
Many members just enjoy the ability to cycle regularly with others, loose some pounds, stay fit, and make some friends.
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