Weekend Rides – Saturdays: Meet 8.00 for 8.30 rollout from St. Ann’s Well Park Cafe
Saturday rides are not supported and the groups do not have a formally designated ride leader so it is important that you are self-sufficient and, worst case scenario, could get yourself home unaided from a fairly remote location. That said, whether you ride with the social group or the racing snakes, we would never intentionally leave anyone out there in distress so if you or your bike is in a bad way then make sure you let one of the more experienced riders know about it at the earliest possible opportunity. That way you can assess whether you’re OK to continue and, if need be, come up with a plan for your safe return even if that means somebody else riding home with you. Note that the level of sympathy you receive is likely to vary inversely with the pace of the ride. If you choose to go with the fastest group, then there is an implicit assumption that you are an experienced cyclist capable of taking care of your own nutrition and roadside repairs. If you’re with the slowest group on the day then it’s reasonable to expect a bit more latitude. Saturday rides are not for riders who have never ridden in a group before – See Come and Try It rides in the Sunday section.
Once you’re in a group then we expect the group to stick together. The group works most efficiently when it stays together and rides at a constant pace which is impossible if one or two faster riders decide to shoot to the front and race up every incline. On larger hills then it’s normal for everyone to go at their own pace and regroup at the top. If you want to ride faster than the group is doing then make sure you let other riders know that you intend to go off the front on your own, otherwise people might assume that you’re lying injured somewhere further back and retrace their steps to look for you. Obviously this means that there are weeks when you’ll be riding slightly more slowly than you’d like and others when you’ll have the pleasure of being towed around behind riders slightly faster than you – just enjoy both for the experience they are.
The routes follow a 12 week rotation – imaginatively called BM1, BM2…BM12 – and are generally between 50-60 miles in length for the standard rides and about 80 miles for the ‘plus’ option for those who have the time, the fitness and an understanding family. GPX files are all available on the website so please download them beforehand so that you are in a position to ride at the front of the group and provide navigation if need be.
The pace of the groups varies and depends largely on who is there on the day. Generally speaking, we hope to have at least one of each of:
- A fast group who will look to average 19+mph and will often add an extra loop onto the advertised route to up the distance.
- A medium group averaging 17-18mph but who will usually stick to the advertised route.
- A social group averaging 15-16mph who will almost always stick to the advertised route.
On any given day, we can’t guarantee that there will be groups riding at each of those paces. It’s not uncommon in the Summer to have three or four social and medium groups along with a fast and sometimes an even faster group. Conversely, in the depths of Winter there are those days when only half a dozen hardy souls are tempted away from the turbo trainer. If you’re in any doubt about whether a Saturday ride is the right choice for you, then the best thing to do is to attend a few Sunday rides first so you can chat with some of the regulars who will be able to advise you. If, for whatever reason, you are unable to make Sundays then please give us a shout so we can give you a bit more information to help you make up your mind.
Saturday rides are for members only.