Join Us FAQs
Am I fit enough?
Our Saturday club ride has some climbing, but nothing more difficult than you encounter in Richmond Park; so if you can ride round Richmond Park you’ll be ok climbing-wise. We always stop and regroup at the top of climbs so no need to worry if you’re not a mountain goat.
Riding in a group is much more efficient and less tiring than riding solo, so if you can ride 40 miles (64km) solo you’ll have no problem at all on the Saturday ride.
Similarly, a group tends to move faster than an individual rider, so if you can do three laps of Richmond Park in 1 hr 20-25m you should be fine. Again, Saturdays are no-drop rides, so if you do happen to struggle with the pace, you won’t be left behind.
I am already an experienced rider; can I skip the intro ride?
No, we ask all new riders to join the intro ride on a Saturday initially, to ensure you are comfortable with how we ride in a group. Once you have done a few intro rides (usually 3) you are welcome to move to a group that fulfils your training needs. Also, if you want to join the club and do the much faster Tuesday rides, we want to make sure you know how we ride through and off on the Saturday rides first. Please don’t be offended by this – we have had people come to us as ‘very experienced riders’ who are downright dangerous in a group. Everybody’s safety must come first.
Why do you ride out on the A316?
Although it may sound counter-intuitive, it’s for safety. Riding two-abreast in a group of eight riders on a dual carriageway is actually much safer than trying to get a group of eight riders through slow-moving traffic in Twickenham town centre. In a group, we are effectively a slower-moving vehicle. This makes us much more visible to drivers, so no close passes because a two-abreast group that is four riders long is much easier for a car to overtake safely than a group of eight in single file. The club has been riding this route for years and we haven’t had any problems yet.
This route also gets us out of town and onto quieter roads sooner and has the added advantage of getting members with family commitments back to Twickenham around lunchtime.
Is my bike suitable?
A bike with drop-handlebars and clipless pedals basically sums up what you need. That generally means a road bike, although occasionally we see members airing their gravel or even cyclocross bikes. A road bike is easiest though.
Straight handlebars are not suitable for group riding so hybrids and mountain bikes are not suitable (nor are tri-bars or TT/Triathlon bikes appropriate on a club ride).
What should I bring?
In short, you should bring yourself, a helmet, your bike, weather-appropriate clothing, and your enthusiasm! Of course, there are some other essential items:
- At least one full water bottle (you can refill at the coffee stop)
- At least one spare inner tube and a means of inflating it (mini-pump or CO2 inflator)
- A multi-tool and tyre-levers
- Fuel – a gel and/or an energy bar is a good idea even though we stop halfway.
- A means to pay at the coffee stop or to get you home in case of an irreparable mechanical.
Is there anything I can do in advance?
Please use the ‘Contact us’ on this website prior to your first Saturday ride to let us know you are coming, and to give us an emergency contact’s name and phone number.
The new riders’ group leaders will explain the technique of riding ‘through and off’ in your pre-ride briefing and will demonstrate the various hand-signals and calls we use to keep ourselves safe when group riding. Here are links to a couple of helpful videos:
You should be able to change an inner tube at the roadside in the event of a puncture. In practice, the whole group stops if someone gets a puncture or a mechanical and people will be pleased to help you (and replace a tube in a remarkably short amount of time!) You should, however, aim to be self-sufficient, so practising this is a ‘non-essential good idea’.
Another couple of useful skills that are non-essential but fun to practise are
- Taking your bottle, having a drink, and replacing it without looking down.
- Clipping-in to your pedals without looking down.
The ride leaders will show you the route which is the same every Saturday riding out through Sunbury, Egham, Longcross, Windlesham to the café stop at Chobham . We then return via Chertsey back through Bushy Park to Twickenham. You are welcome to download the route from the Club Rides page.
Will riding with the club make me a better rider?
Almost certainly. If you haven’t ridden in a group before you will find your average speed increases markedly. You will almost certainly get fitter. You will develop a whole new skillset with regard to riding fairly near other riders – essential stuff if you ride sportives or want to start racing.
Club riders are usually generous in sharing their experience so you can be sure you’ll pick-up a lot of hints, tips, good advice (and old-wives’ tales!). Please bear with them if they occasionally ‘advise’ you on the road in what appears to be a forthright manner – it doesn’t happen often and, if they do, it’ll almost certainly be something to do with safety.
Who supplies your kit?
Our current kit supplier is Le Col, who are able to provide top-quality club kit at favourable rates.
I have completed 3 Intro rides, how do I join the Club?
Fantastic – welcome to our Club! All you need to do is click on the link below and select ‘new member’ to pay club membership. If you’re not already a member of British Cycling, you are also eligible to get a free Bronze or Ride annual membership as part of signing up to join TCC. Joining British Cycling is not compulsory but if, for example, you did decide you want to race then you will need to be a member. Plus there are differing levels of insurance cover that you get with membership which can be very useful for when you are riding generally.
You do not need to wait for your membership to be processed to join club rides and other club activities in the interim, such as our Autumn to Spring coached zoom turbo sessions.