New Rider FAQ

This page has answers to some of the Frequently Asked Questions about cycling with us, and then at the bottom there is a link that will take you to the Cycling UK website where you can join.
Can I try before I join ?
We are a membership cycling club, however anyone can come along and ride with us for three times Guest even if you aren’t a member of Cycling UK.
If you wish to ride with us long-term then we do ask that you join Cycling UK. There are many benefits – especially ensuring that you are covered by Insurance when riding. And it means that you cycle with us for free !!
Why do I join Cycling UK rather than CTC Coventry ?
We are just one of several hundred groups which form UK Cycling, the national cyclists’ organisation with a membership of over 70,000. Formerly known as the Cyclists’ Touring Club, the UK Cycling works nationally to promote cycling and protect cyclists. Each local group, such as CTC Coventry, is free to manage itself and operate in a way benefit its members under the overall umbrella of Cycling UK Joining Cycling UK gives you access to lots of nationally provided benefits and support.
How fit or capable do I need to be ?
This is always a difficult question to answer. Potentially the base level is probably that you are able to comfortably cycle at least an hour and a half travel around 15 miles in one go before you have to stop for a refreshment break. At this point you are probably at a level where you could join a Sunday Short ride, or having made contact with the club join with another member to cycle to the morning break of a Tuesday ride. 
If you are a novice or new to cycling then to get your fitness and confidence up there is the option to move on with your basic cycling ability by joining one of our Introductory Rides or Improver Rides
Before joining one of our rides, you MUST speak to our New Rider Co-ordinator for an informal chat about your cycling ability. This will enable us to advise you on the best group to cycle with to ensure that you have an enjoyable and achievable first ride.
Once you are on a ride we will never leave you on your own. If you are struggling then we will slow the group down to your pace, stop more frequently at junctions, or designate a buddy to ride with you and encourage and support you to complete the ride.
We want you to succeed, to get better and to enjoy yourself. We love cycling and want you to love it as well !
I have commitments at the weekend and don’t want to be away all day ?
This is completely understandable. We have many members who have the time, desire and ability to be out doing long distances at a reasonable pace for all day – and we encourage and support that. On the other hand we do acknowledge that for many people their love and enjoyment of cycling has to be fitted into a limited amount of time, and we have two options to help with that – 
– For a relaxed ride out there is the option to join the Short ride. At around 25 miles and an average of around 10mph you can be back in Coventry for midday.
– we have an Intermediate ride as you feel more confident and feel you’d like to explore more of our beautiful countryside but as the pace is a bit faster you’ll still be back in  a reasonable time
I am returning from an illness or operation can I still join ?

 It is pretty well acknowledged how helpful cycling can be if you are recovering from illness or injury.

      • Cycling is a low-impact form of exercise that promotes blood flow so it can be particularly helpful for people recovering from leg, knee and hip operations
      • Moderate exercise – such as cycling – is often prescribed for those recovering from strokes
      • Cycling requires you to concentrate on the road so can support mindfulness therapies for those suffering mood or anxiety disorders

We are not, however, medically-trained.  We are not in a position to assess what is suitable for you, and what is not.  If you are recovering from illness or injury we therefore ask that you seek specific medical guidance and discuss what you have been told with us.  We will then do our best to help.  Note that if you turn up for a ride without warning and we are concerned about your ability, the ride leader might ask you not to join the ride.

Are there any restrictions on who can join ?

We endeavour to be as open and inclusive as we can as long as you can satisfy our basic criteria, which are 

      • The ability to ride unaided
      • A certain level of fitness – see above
      • Confidence to ride in traffic
      • Knowledge and understanding of the highway code and our ride guidelines

If any of the above are an issue for you please make contact and in strict confidence we will get back to you to find ways we can address any issues. We have a lot of experience of coming up with solution and if we can’t then we will have contacts in other specialist groups who undoubtedly we will be able to assisted you get or return to cycling.

What sort of bike do I need ?
We have no limitations or restrictions on the bike you rides with us. Historically we have done almost exclusively road cycling with just the occasional section of easy pathway or track, so a road bike or tourer was the default. We are seeing more people coming along on hybrids and they are a good choice as well.
Recently we have started to do more Offroad riding and this generally will required a wide tyred bike preferably with front suspension… and a skilled rider might well find that a gravel bike might be a do-it-all option !
If you feel comfortable on it, if it is well maintained and roadworthy and if you can keep to the ride pace on it then probably it’s good enough ! 
We have people turning up on tandems, tricycles, and recumbents as well as road bikes, hybrids, tourers and mountain bikes. Have a chat with us before you join a ride and we can advise you.
An important benefit of riding in a group is that there is always help at hand, especially if there are mechanical problems. If you are new to cycling, it is a great help to be with more experienced riders As your riding develops you should take steps to acquire knowledge of basic road-side repairs, and have the right equipment to carry out those repairs. We can assist with this with our regular maintence training sessions in our Clubroom Schedule.
I would like to use an electric bike ?
The club acknowledge the benefits that electrically assisted bikes can bring to opening up cycling, to enabling people to keep cycling for longer in life, and to enable more challenging rides to be undertaken. We do have members who use e-bike with us.
You are welcome to join rides on your electric bike, all we ask is that you have independent contingency plans to cope with failure of the motor or the powerpack being drained while you are on the ride.
What equipment should I bring on my first ride ?

Assuming you have a serviceable bike you should not need any specialist equipment before joining a ride. You will be riding with experienced cyclists who carry tools. However it is vital that you carry one or two inner tubes that are matched to tyres…. and a pump suitable for inflating those tubes.

You don’t need special cycle clothing as long as you are protected from the elements.  

You should consider bringing the following in case you need them:

      • A map or maps covering the general area of the ride.  Even a page taken out of a motoring map can be useful should you get detached from a ride (although we try hard to prevent that happening).
      • Money. Most rides stop for elevenses.  Others stop for lunch, and yet others stop for tea.  The ride description will indicate where we intend to stop.  You should therefore bring money for a drink and a bite at coffee/tea stops.  Some riders take packed lunches, others find a café or pub for lunch.   In any case you should bring some cash and/or cards in case of emergencies.
      • A mobile phone could be very useful, if you have one.
      • Please carry details of an emergency contact with you – in your wallet or purse, for example.
      • Water is particularly important during hot summer months – you need to be able to take a drink from time to time to avoid dehydration.
      • Some food with plenty of calories can help you replenish energy on long or fast rides.
What do I do when riding in a group ?

There are many benefits to riding in a group. It is safer, sociable and more energy efficient. By riding in a club, you will benefit from riding with more experienced cyclists and learn about the local area. There is a fairly simple set of Group Riding Guidelines which are accepted good practice for our Club and which are intended to make the experience for all riders and other road users safer and more enjoyable. We ask all riders to read, appreciate and adhere to these Group Riding Guidelines.