RIDING WITH THE COGS – WHAT TO EXPECT
Reservoir Cogs prides itself as being a friendly, inclusive cycling club catering for many different levels of road and MTB cyclists. Members can enjoy all the benefits of riding with a group through our beautiful countryside in West Wicklow and beyond. Road spins with the Reservoir Cogs should be a fun, safe and enjoyable activity for all taking part. What each rider expects from a group ride will vary depending on the individual’s experience, personality, fitness level, objectives and motivation such as upcoming events and the time of year.
To meet the needs of our riders the Reservoir Cogs Cycling Club run three Road Groups all year round;
In addition, a Beginners group runs over a couple of months each Autumn or Spring to accommodate riders that are new to riding in a group and get them up to speed with the techniques and etiquette of Group riding.
All Road spins start from Tom’s Bike Shop at the Mall beside Dunnes Stores in Blessington. Road spins roll out on a Sunday morning. Start times vary throughout the year with an earlier start during the summer and a later start during the winter months to take account of poor light and road conditions. If bad weather is an issue, it’s advisable to check the Cogs Facebook page for last minute updates before setting off from home. There is also a Wednesday evening road spin that takes place during the Summer months (late March – September) meeting at 7pm from Tom’s Bike Shop.
When choosing which group to ride with, Club Members need to consider where their fitness and abilities stand in relation to what the three different groups have to offer. Also check the route posted for groups each week as the difficulty level can vary. To help riders choose the right group for them here, is a guide of what to expect from each group.
WHAT TO DO ON A COGS RIDE
- Familiarise themselves with the route.
- Make sure they choose the group ride that suits their fitness level and experience.
- Show up on a properly serviced bike in safe, roadworthy condition.
- Wear a helmet – compulsory on group rides
- Ride Safely – don’t take unnecessary risks.
- Follow the directions of the spin leader.
- Do not put pressure on a group by upping the pace where it is not welcome or expected – move up a group if you find a spin too slow.
- If you go out on a group ride and you find yourself in difficulty and are having an ‘off day’ very early on let someone know. Depending on the group and the route you may wish to cut your ride short.
- If you leave a group ride early always make sure to let the spin leader know. This will avoid unnecessary waiting at regroup point or backtracking to search for a ‘missing’ rider.
- Do not half-wheel. See pt 11; (not to be confused with overlapping wheels at pt 17)
- When riding on the front, ride level with the rider next to you.
- When on the front call or point to significant road hazards.
- On narrow roads call a car approaching from the front as ‘Car Down’
- On narrow roads call a car approaching from the rear as ‘Car up’
- If the car starts to overtake which may squeeze the group shout ‘Overtaking car’
- Keep well in to the left – but not in the gutter.
- Do not overlap your front wheel with the rear wheel of the bike ahead.
- Do not let a big gap form in the group rotation. Pay attention and continue that chat later!
- Call if you are the last man – or woman!
- Avoid using brakes towards the front of the group – only brake when absolutely necessary.
- If you are new to riding with the Cogs then watch, observe what is happening and be receptive to advice.
- Try not to be too sensitive, advice and information on the move can often be delivered in brief, short snippits which can sound terse or rude to the uninitiated.
- Be nice to fellow riders and the spin leader. Spin leaders have volunteered. It’s not a job!
- Enjoy the ride.
Group road spins work best where there is an effective spin leader to act as a ‘road captain’ to help the individual riders come together as a cohesive and safe group. Spin leaders are usually more experienced riders who have been out on plenty of rides with the club and know the club culture and etiquette.
Road Spin leaders should;
- Know the route that was posted for that ride.
- Decide on detours if needed. Communicate any change of plan to the group
- Decide on any regroup points and communicate this to the group.
- Keep an eye on the pace to ensure it is appropriate for the group.
- Call for the pace to be pulled back if needed – be assertive.
- Call ‘roll-overs’ to ensure the group stays fresh.
- Call if the group needs to single out for traffic on narrow roads.
- Decide on Coffee stops.
- If severe weather conditions dictate, cut the ride short.
- Welcome new riders to club. Explain the 3 ride rule for non-members.
- Point out any dangerous riding or poor bike handling that may put riders at risk.
- Obey the rules of the road.
- Show good example and pass on knowledge to less experienced riders
- Enjoy the ride.