BMCC Group Rides

Brighton Mitre offer group rides every Saturday and the first and third Sunday of each month throughout the year and are really proud of our reputation for welcoming cyclists of all abilities and experience levels.  All rides leave from The Garden Café in St Ann’s Well Gardens in Hove (you’ll find directions on their website).  Weekly updates to the weekend’s rides can always be found on our Facebook page

The weekend rides cater for a wide range of abilities and fitness levels.  Over the course of the weekend there will be some faster rides and some slower ones; some with a designated ride leader and some without; some suitable for beginners and some in which experience is assumed and is indeed a prerequisite.  We’d encourage you to read the explanation below before joining one of our rides as rides are safer and more enjoyable if all people on them are at a similar level.

There is a distinction drawn between rides which are Supported and those which are Self-supported:

Supported rides
On these rides, the whole group sticks together and nobody gets dropped.  If you are unable to keep up, one of the ride leaders or an experienced member may take you out of the group and ride with you back to Brighton at a pace you are able to manage.  Please carefully choose the ride you wish to join so that you are confident with the pace and distance as it is far more enjoyable and safer for everyone if the ride stays together.

Self-supported rides
While the intention is to keep these rides together, if a rider is unable to keep the pace then they might find themselves riding home alone. With this in mind, it is vital that riders take personal responsibility to know the route and have the correct kit and adequate food and water to complete the ride alone.  GPX files for every route are available on the website and will usually also be publicised on the Facebook page a day or so before the ride takes place.

Group riding is a wonderful experience for anyone who cycles regularly.  A well organised group can nearly always travel further and faster than an individual cyclist and it’s always nicer sitting in a café with your friends than caking alone.  But, riding in close proximity to other cyclists does bring inherent risks and the information below on safety, etiquette, kit and bikes, which applies to all rides whether supported or self-supported, is designed to minimise these

Whilst it goes without saying that riding alone you are responsible for your own safety, when riding in a group, you also carry a degree of responsibility for the other group members.  In addition to this, all cyclists are ambassadors for the wider cycling community and, whilst riding in a Mitre group, are more specifically ambassadors for the club.  We treat all other road users with respect and courtesy be they other cyclists, pedestrians, motorists or horses.  We also always obey the highway code.  See Group Riding Principles, at the end of this section and click here to see the more detailed group riding guidelines.

Group Riding Principles

These general principles for Brighton Mitre group rides go along with the group riding guidelines previously published and are intended to ensure that group rides are safe and enjoyable for all those who participate.  They are specifically for all the non-led rides which take place every Saturday and now most Sundays too.  On these rides there are no designated ride leaders which means that we are all leaders and all have a responsibility for the safety of the group.  It follows that we are all therefore responsible for highlighting instances of poor riding so…

IF YOU RIDE LIKE AN IDIOT EXPECT TO BE TOLD!

We Ride as a Group

  • British Cycling recommends that group rides are kept to a maximum of eight riders. This is an easily manageable number and makes communication within groups easy.
  • On the road there may be times when groups come together – generally when there are a lot of traffic lights such as either direction along the sea front. In this case, it is generally better for the back group to slow down and allow the front group to distance itself.  If it’s clear that the back group is faster then the groups need to agree that they will swap places.
  • Whilst it’s fine to ride off the front up the odd hill, the default is that we ride together as a close compact group. That means that some people will inevitably be riding more slowly than they might have done but as someone commented recently, “It’s a club ride, not a training ride”.

We Ride with Consideration for all Road Users

  • We ride in a manner to make it as easy as possible for traffic to pass and with due care for pedestrians and horses.
  • When we’re riding two abreast, we ride close to the kerb and close to each other. If we need to ride single-file to allow cars to pass then we do so and this means that EVERYONE needs to do so.  If even one rider fails to comply then it negates the purpose of the group riding singly.
  • If we approach stationary traffic such as at traffic lights then we wait as a group. It’s simply not possible for a group of eight riders all to filter safely to the front of a line of cars even if you might do this as an individual rider.

We Communicate as a Group

  • If you’re at the front then you’re calling out approaching hazards and obstacles. If you’re at the back then you’re calling out traffic behind and judging whether it’s necessary to single out.  Listen for calls and act upon them.

E Bikes on Club Rides

Whilst the legacy of Lance still drives a hole through the heart of the cycling community, nothing seems to create a schism in the cycling world like the adoption of new tech  [or old tech like mudguards maybe? Ed.]. And whilst the adoption of disc brakes in the pro-peloton was anything but friction free, the next highly charged debate looks certain to revolve around the use of e-bikes…although hopefully not at World Tour level.  As we recently had the first instance of an e-bike on a club ride, we thought we should pen a few guidelines covering their use within organised group rides.

Firstly, and most importantly, as a point of principle, we are advocates for all forms of cycling and would always encourage participation among those for whom an e-bike is the most practical cycling option.  In time it is likely that there will be sufficient e-bike users to run e-bike only group rides but, in the meantime, we would like e-bike users to stick to the following on mixed assist/non-assist rides:

  1. If you wish to ride an e-bike on a group ride then it must comply with current UK law which as of January 2022 means it produces no more than 250W and cuts out at 15.5mph.
  2. As e-bikes become visually less obvious, as a courtesy to other group members, please let them know that you are riding assisted to avoid Cancellara Flanders type accusations.
  3. On certain sections e-bikes could be much faster than unassisted bikes so make sure that you are riding with consideration for those riding unassisted and not riding off the front or setting an unrealistic pace.
  4. Make sure you have sufficient battery capacity to complete the planned route.
  5. Additional systems present additional potential for mechanical failures and ones with which other groups members are unlikely to be able to offer assistance owing to a lack of experience. Make sure you have tools/expertise to deal with these.
  6. Lastly, don’t be alarmed when everyone else wants to have a shot on your e-bike!