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Ride information & Safety

The Serious Part - Please read!

Everyone who comes on a BikeFit ride will be asked to agree to our terms & conditions that can be downloaded here. In this 'blame culture' age Bike Fit wants to protect itself from litigation. You will be asked to sign a declaration see here that you understand that you are riding at your own risk. Don't forget that whilst cycling is not considered a 'high risk' sport, accidents can and do happen. So also you are signing that you understand that cycling holds a potential danger.

We will try hard to lead an enjoyable, safe ride. However the unexpected sometimes happens- roads or bridleways closed; weather getting too bad to continue, rider or mechanical problems. In these cases we will sometimes have to return to base, make on-the-spot adjustments to routes or use initiative to overcome problems. We will aim to make rides no longer than stated, however it is inevitable that there will be disparity in rider ability and we may be slower than anticipated. Please do not book essential appointments following your BikeFit ride- you may not make it in time!

The ride leader has discretion whether or not to allow a rider to ride. Before the ride starts, if the leader feels that you will not cope with the difficulty level or pace he/she may ask you to consider dropping a level. Remember we grade our rides for a reason. Whilst we would encourage you to increase your fitness and try the next level up, if you have difficulties after your first attempt we would prefer you to practice a little more on a lower level before trying again. We will always encourage and wait for slower riders, but at the same time it is unfair to ask the majority of riders to continually wait in the cold for you.

In horrible weather (lashing rain, ice or snow) we may decide to cancel a ride. Please check this website or ring the specified leader before setting off. When you arrive at the meeting place if you are coming by car please park considerately, even if it means parking somewhere else and cycling a little way on your own. Some of the places we meet are small village greens and careless parking will just make us unpopular.

Ride leaders:
Our ride leaders range from qualified cycle and fitness instructors to unqualified but enthusiastic members. Some but not all of our ride leaders hold cycle related awards: National Standard Cycle Instructor, CTC Mountain Biking Trail Leader award, Cycle Leader British Cycling, Sky Ride Leader (Breeze Champion) ( http://www.goskyride.com/breeze ) Several but not all leaders hold current First Aid Certificates from St John's Ambulance and enhanced DBS check.

Members of Bikefit may offer to lead rides and there may be leader changes without notice; these leaders may not hold any cycle qualifications but will be experienced cyclists with knowledge of the local trails.

Cycling UK Membership:
Bikefit is an affiliated member of Cycling UK, the Cyclists Touring Club. Once you have ridden with Bikefit and become a member you are eligible to join Cycling UK via us at a reduced membership fee.


What shall I bring/wear?

Don't worry, we don't expect you to turn up wearing top to toe coordinated Lycra and wraparound shades! But if you do, that's fine too!

Here are some general useful guidelines. Starting from the top then:

Your bike! You need a mountain bike or hybrid. Make sure you've had your bike serviced, so your brakes & gears are working, and that the tyres are fully inflated (they should feel quite hard, with no 'give'). You should have knobbly tyres for Winter; in Summer, hybrid tyres will do, but be aware you will not have as much grip on difficult surfaces and gravel. You also need a Reliable Pump, Spare inner tube with tyre levers or slime.

Helmet- it's a must! Fitted properly. We strongly recommend helmets for everyone but they are compulsory for children.

Eye protection/ sunglasses. Especially in summer you will be amazed at the number of bugs who want to die a horrible death on your eyeballs. And of course on a sunny day they are essential.

Long hair. Don't worry there is no rule about this but it is often more comfortable and less sweaty to have it tied back. Helmet hair is part of cycling life but we'll all be in the same boat when we get back!

Clothing. Bright colours or high visibility are best. In dark clothes in shadows you can be invisible to car drivers. Top- Breathable is better, but a simple T shirt is ok for starters. In cooler weather wear light layers, and this being England bring a waterproof top. If you don't have a carrier on your bike you can just tie it around your middle if you don't need it. Trousers- not skirts please- they aren't really suitable. Again breathable is good but so long as they aren't 'flappy' at the ankles and therefore can get caught in your chain, anything will do. Bike clips are useful if you don't have narrow legged trousers.

Hi-visibility extras. The more visible you are the better! Those yellow high-vis straps, bands and snap bands, coats and vests are all great.

Gloves. Optional but even in summer a pair of gloves is a good idea. No one likes the thought of taking a tumble but if the worst happens your hands often bear the brunt. Cycle gloves are best as they are padded and the summer ones are fingerless, but anything will do (apart from mittens!!)

Shoes. You can ride in almost anything flat with a closed toe. Cycle shoes have a stiffer sole but at this relaxed level just make sure you are comfortable. Bear in mind we ride along some bridlepaths and you may need to get off and walk or put a foot down at some point on dirt, or even in six inches of mud, so best to leave your Jimmy Choos at home. On rougher, wetter rides a sturdy pair of walking boots are often a good option.

Water. Very important. You need to bring water with you!!!!

Food. It's a good idea to keep a chocolate bar or banana around in case you feel a bit tired suddenly. Don't come out on a ride on an empty stomach. On our weekend rides we may stop for tea & cake, but not on the weekday rides, we usually leave refreshments 'til the end.

Mobile phone. Bring one if you have one for emergencies. Never use it while riding.

Money/credit card for refreshments en route or at the end. Cake. A pint. A nice latte.... the possibilities are endless.

A smile. You're coming to have fun, meet some new people and get out and about in this gorgeous part of the world. Don't worry about everyone being fitter than you are- they won't be, and we all have to start somewhere.


VERY IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION!

Most of this is common sense but PLEASE READ TO THE END!

Road Ride Safety

The guidelines below should be read and followed by all riders who join - or intend to join - rides with BikeFit Surrey.

BEFORE RIDING

YOU are responsible for riding sensibly and cautiously within the rules of The Highway Code to protect yourself and those around you including other riders, pedestrians and other road users.

If you have ANY doubts about your fitness or health, don't ride until you have seen your doctor for the appropriate checks and been cleared as fit. If you feel unwell on a ride, let people around you know immediately and stop.

Do not join a ride outside your comfort zone to 'see if you can do it' unless you are absolutely confident in your fitness and ability to cycle home once half way out.

Check your bike and brakes regularly. Put problems right BEFORE you start. If you can, learn how to repair a puncture and always carry appropriate tools: a pump, tyre levers, a spare inner tube plus a mobile phone (NEVER to be used on-the-move). The ride leader may carry some spares but we cannot guarantee we will have the correct size inner tubes for you. Be prepared to phone for a taxi if neither you, nor we, carry the right inner tube!

Wear a helmet AND bright colours. We strongly recommend and advise helmets. Learn how to fit and wear yours properly. If you come along to join a ride without a helmet, the leader of that ride may exercise discretion and not allow you to ride with the club on that occasion. Bright colours are essential as a dark-clad cyclist may be as good as invisible to a car driver in many circumstances.

In any conditions other than sure-fire good weather, carry a water-proof top. It is better to be too warm than too cold. Gloves/mitts are also essential, as is eye protection. If you fall, your palms need protection.

Use simple common sense - don't ride for hours in bright sun and think you won't get burned. Take plenty to drink and carry food.

WHILE RIDING

If you are struggling in any way, you MUST let the leader (perhaps via a chain of riders in front of you) know so she can moderate the speed or discuss an easy return route for you, preferably with a 'buddy'.

Experienced riders will speak up if they see any rider involved in unsafe manoeuvres or careless cycling. If you show yourself unable or unwilling to ride safely, you may be asked to leave the ride.

Riding two abreast in quiet lanes is often OK but you must never aggravate car drivers. Cars will often overtake riders courteously and should be thanked but some may not. Move safely into single file if instructed or if you have any doubts about a car's ability to pass you safely.

DON'T brake suddenly in a group if you can avoid it. Watch the road and surface ahead to anticipate, avoid, and warn others of, hazards. Learn from experienced riders how to recognise and point out hazards. Potholes, gravel, oil, branches, debris, pedestrians on the road, parked cars and even bollards can cause accidents if other riders can't see them. It is dangerous to avoid a hazard yourself and not make following riders aware.

If you ever start to drop off the back of a group of riders, shout out to make them aware so they can slow the ride down. Likewise, if you see anyone else struggling, let the ride leader and those around you know so the group can slow or stop to assess the situation. Even if the pace is 'to slow' for you, DO NOT zoom off in front or you may get lost and leave a group concerned for you. WAIT at the next junction for the rest of the group.

AFTER YOUR RIDE

Check your bike again. Any noises? Tyre pressure OK? Does it need oil? Don't wait until next time you are about to start a ride.

Assess how you coped with the ride you have just done. Were you uncomfortable about any aspect of the ride? If so, speak to the leader of the ride or other experienced riders and discuss issues with them.

Allow yourself time to recover and eat/drink sensibly so you are in the best condition next time you venture out.

PLEASE NOTE: THESE ARE GUIDELINES FOR YOUR SAFETY. THEY ARE NEITHER COMPREHENSIVE NOR 'SET IN STONE'. GOOD RIDERS LEARN HOW TO MAINTAIN AND HANDLE THEIR BIKE WELL USING COMMON SENSE ALL THE TIME TO PROTECT THEIR SAFETY AND THAT OF OTHERS.

Off-Road - Ride Safety

Other Bridleway Users

Other people also use the bridleways and we all want to enjoy ourselves without upsetting each other. There is a definite pecking order when on bridleways and cyclists are last.

Horses

  1. It is less threatening for a horse if it can see any passing cyclists. A horse rider will often turn a horse to face the cyclists before they pass.
  2. Horses can be easily startled by sudden movements or loud noises.
  3. Some horse riders will ask cyclists to dismount.
  4. Gather on the same side of the track so the horse does not need to pass between cyclists.
  5. When overtaking a horse on a road, inform the horse rider of your presence and ask them if it is OK to overtake. Give the horse a wide a berth as possible.

Walkers

  1. Many walkers will step to the side so cyclists can pass, remember to thank them. If you are travelling in the same direction as the walkers, they my not have seen you, so make a noise to alert them of your presence.
  2. Watch out for dogs as they are unpredictable and may want to join you. Depending on the situation, either out run them, or slow down gently to a stop. This is usually accompanied by their owner frantically calling their name.

Cyclists

  1. Watch out for other cyclists coming towards you. Try to keep to one side so you can both pass amicably.


Hand signals & shouts

(don't worry there won't be an exam! But it is worth a read- you will catch on quite quickly when out!)

When out on the road, communication is one of the keys to the safety of all riders in a group. Sometimes a shout is necessary but often a rider at the front of a group will be facing away from those behind and will use hand signals to indicate hazards or recommended actions to those behind.Knowing what signals to use and what they mean is essential when riding in any group.

Shown below are some of the most commonly-used signals and what they mean:


Hand signals on the road

SLOWING / STOPPING

A flat hand motioned up and down by a rider indicates slowing or stopping for an obstacle or hazard ahead. This is also used for approaching horses who may startle at a bunch of cyclists approaching quickly.

HOLE/COVER

A finger pointing at the road indicates a pothole, cover or fixed hazard on the road surface. Used with or without a shout of 'hole' or 'cover'.

LOOSE

A flat hand with fingers spread that is waved over the road surface - with or without a shout of 'loose' - indicates a loose surface (ie gravel, mud etc) that could cause loss of traction.

MOVE OUT/IN

A rider pointing or waving behind their back is indicating that riders behind should move out (or if mirrored, in) to avoid a pedestrian, parked vehicle, slower cyclist, on-coming vehicle crossing white lines etc.

SHOUTS

It is always a good idea to 'shout out' hazards as well as indicating them. Often a rider at the back of a group will shout out 'CAR BACK' to warn the group of traffic coming up behind the group and 'CAR UP' when a vehicle behind a group is coming through.

Similarly, 'CAR DOWN' indicates to a group that a car is approaching in the opposite direction and riders (particularly on narrow roads) may need to keep tight on their side of the road.

'STEADY' or 'EASY' is a warning for everyone to slow down - could be a Give Way, a road junction with car coming, a vehicle in front slowing down etc.

When turning at a T junction, 'CLEAR' is an indication that the road is completely clear. If riders are turning left, 'CLEAR RIGHT' indicates that there are no vehicles approaching from the right of the junction so a left turn is possible. BUT PLEASE NOTE: A shout of 'clear' is never a justification for not checking and pulling out. It is every rider's responsibility to ensure the road is clear for them. Cars can come round corners quickly and clear one minute might be busy when you reach the junction. 'STOP' is a command to stop at the junction because of traffic or hazards.

'PUNCTURE' and 'MECHANICAL' are two other obvious but extremely important shouts, either to warn riders behind you that you are likely to slow or to warn riders in front that you are going off the back with a problem.

Ride Terms & Conditions

Conditions of registration and participation in cycle rides with Bikefit Surrey:

Most of these conditions are designed for your safety and the safety of other riders. Please read them carefully to avoid problems later.

General

1. Cycling can be strenuous and therefore riders must be in good health. Riders who have any doubt about their health or have a medical condition that could be affected by exercise, particularly a heart condition, should consult their doctor before participating.

2. The minimum age for participants is 16. Children aged 15 and under may be welcome on some rides but this is entirely at the discretion of Bikefit Surrey. If riders aged 15 and under do attend they must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian aged 18 or over and are entirely the responsibility of that adult. If a child aged 15 or under does attend with another adult (aged 18 or over) that is not their parent/guardian the person making the registration must have the prior consent of their legal parent/guardian.

3. To comply with British Cycling's rules and regulations, helmets are compulsory for U18s and recommended but not compulsory for adults over 18.

4. While Bikefit Surrey will do all in their reasonable control to make the ride as safe as possible, all riders take part at their own risk.

5. All riders must ensure that their bicycles are in a roadworthy condition, must observe the rules of the Highway Code and follow the instructions of any officials, marshals and the Police.

6. None of the organisers, managers or any sponsors or promoters of Bikefit Surrey accept liability for any loss or damaged caused where:

(a) there is breach of a contractual obligation or legal duty of care owed to you;

(b) such loss or damage is not reasonably foreseeable at the time of breach

(c) an injury is sustained or property damaged in the course of the ride or as a result of taking part in the ride;

or

(d) any changes are made to the route or conduct of the ride for safety or operational reasons or as otherwise required for the safe and proper carrying out of the event; except for death or personal injury caused by their negligence, fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation, or any other matter for which it would be illegal or unlawful for them to exclude or attempt to exclude their liability.

7. The organisers, managers or any sponsors or promoters of the ride may take photographs or videos of the ride and riders for promotional and publicity purposes. By registering to participate in the ride either on your own behalf or upon behalf of any other rider including those under the age of 16 years, you agree that photographic or video images of you, containing you, or of those under the age of 16 years upon whose behalf you have registered, may be used by the organisers, managers or any sponsors or promoters of the ride for publicity purposes.

8. The organisers may cancel any rides or other organised events and activities at their discretion. They will endeavour to give as much notice as possible of any cancellations. The organisers accept no liability for any costs incurred as a result of the cancellation.

Use of Information

9. Bikefit Surrey will use the information you give us for administration and research purposes in the delivery of future Cycling events or activities. This may include contacting you by email or SMS with reminders or information about the rides, information on other cycling events, and cycling tips and newsletters to help you continue to have fun on your bike.

10. These terms and conditions shall be governed by English Law. I have read and agree to the terms and conditions.