Frequently asked questions
When do you ride?
We have a few organised riding days – our regular rides are on Sundays (club ride), Saturdays (laps of Richmond Park) and Wednesday evenings (summer only – laps of Richmond Park). We also organise holidays and weekends away, as well as getting involved in organised rides are home and abroad. All rides are posted on our MeetUp page
Where do you ride?
Unless we’re on holiday, or doing something special, all rides start and end at Richmond Park – Colicci Café car park by Roehampton Gate. Rides go out in all directions though often take in the classic staples such as the Surrey Hills, Brighton and our old friend Windsor
How far do you ride?
Sunday club rides tend to be anything from 50 miles (for the Steady ranking) up to around 100 miles. We often throw in longer rides with a train return option for those who don’t want to do the whole thing.
Will there be hills?!!
Yes! Our routes are quite varied – some are flat, some have all the hills and some are a bit of a mixture. Be sure to check the route description and GPX file so you know the plan.
How fit do I have to be?
To join one of our Sunday club rides, you should be able to ride consistently at an average speed of at least 13mph over 4 – 5 hours – this means that the rolling speed will be a few MPH higher. We’re often out riding in groups for 5 – 6 hours, generally with only one coffee break. If you don’t think you’re up to this, we encourage you to come along to our Saturday rides in Richmond Park so you can talk to some of our regulars.
Do you allow under-18s in your club?
Yes, we have a child policy and conform to British Cycling by having a Club Welfare Officer. We take our commitment to child protection and the welfare of all our members seriously. If you are 16-18 we only require that you have a consent form signed by a guardian and returned to us before you are able to ride with the club. If you are under 16 we require you to have a ride guardian and with a signed consent form. The ride guardian is someone you must find and agrees to be a ride guardian. They must be a member or willing to join the club to attend rides with you. The ride guardian must always ride with you, please see our RPR consent form.
Do you ride in groups? What if I’ve never ridden in a group before?
Yep – group riding is great for long distances at good speeds. We tend to ride close together in groups of no more than 12 people. We try to ride double file where the road allows, or single file when neccessary. Communication in groups is really important – we use all of the standard hand signals and calls to ensure a safe and fun ride for everyone. If you have never ridden in a group, you’ll learn and gain confidence in no time – just ask one of our regulars and we’ll teach you all you need to know.
Do you ride on the roads? What if I’m nervous around traffic?
Yes – though we all love a quiet country lane, we do ride on busy roads. You should be confident riding with traffic and comfortably be able to signal with both hands. Group riding can offer safety in numbers but we need to be responsible for ourselves. If you’re nervous, just ask one of our regulars to stick with you for a while as you gain confidence.
Who is responsible for me on the ride?
You are responsible for you! We have ride captains who are in charge of navigation and making sure the group stays together. If someone in the group has a mechanical or is struggling, we will always stop to help and decide on what to do.
What if I can’t keep up?
Our set ride speeds are pretty accurate so do read them carefully. However, we all have our off-days! If you are struggling on a Sunday ride, be sure to let the ride leader know – we can either slow down the whole group or take a break. One of our key goals is to never drop anyone! However, if you are really struggling to maintain speed and decide to leave the group during the ride, we will help you to get to the nearest train station.
What if I get a puncture / mechanical during a ride?
We stop the group and fix it (if we can!). Make sure you have at least one spare inner tube with you – using patches to fix punctures on the road isn’t easy! Make sure your bike is roadworthy and you know how to change an inner tube. If you have a major mechanical and can’t continue, we’ll always help you to get to a train station.
Do you take breaks during the ride?
Yes – we usually take a lunch / cake / coffee break halfway through. We tend to stop at the top of big hills to take a breather and regroup. Remember though, we’re generally riding for a few hours at a time without breaks.
What should I bring with me on the ride?
Please bring two water bottles, snacks, cash / cards for food, lights, a pump, a multi-tool and at least one spare inner tube.
Do you have ride captains?
Yep – every group has a captain who is responsible for navigation and keeping the group together. We do ride as a group though and expect everyone to communicate well if gaps are forming or a rider is having trouble / a mechanical. Ride leaders are just our regulars – we’re not British Cycling qualified coaches, we just love riding our bikes!
What kind of bike should I bring? Does it have to be a road bike?
On Sunday rides, we insist on road bikes – meaning bikes with dropped handle bars and tyres of of no more than 28mm width. If you are coming to Saturday laps, you are more than welcome to come on a Hybrid.
My bike is a little on the rusty side, can I still ride?
You are responsible for bringing a bike that is properly maintained before setting off for the ride capable of doing the distance.
What should I eat before and during the ride?
For any long ride, fuelling is really important. Everyone is unique so it’s important that you learn what works for you. Always bring water and food with you as shops can be few and far between when we’re out in the countryside.
As a general rule, if you’re riding over an hour, you need to fuel. Electrolytes in your water are a really good idea as you’ll be sweating and losing salt. In terms of snacks, it’s up to you – energy bars, flapjacks, bananas, sandwiches, nuts – anything that can fit into your jersey pockets!
What should I wear?
Lycra, lycra, lycra! J. Cycling-specific gear is perfect for long rides. Something breathable (not cotton as you’ll end up a sweaty mess!) with layers as the weather dictates. Padded cycling shorts are also a godsend, as are packable rain jackets if the heavens open. Gloves / mitts and sunglasses can also make you feel more comfortable if you want to wear them.
Do I have to wear a helmet?
Do you race, do track cycling or off-road?
Generally, we are a sportive-style club – we like to cycle at more than a touring pace but we don’t race with each other. Some of our members enjoy a bit of racing and there will always be people keen to get together and enjoy other types of cycling.
How do I join and how much does it cost?
We ask all new members to join a Saturday new members ride, which consists of a few laps of Richmond Park. Here you can meet some regulars and find out more about our rides. We can also advise you on which of our ride speeds would suit you. When you have attended a Saturday new members ride, you are welcome to join a Sunday ride as a taster before joining. Alternatively, if you are an experienced cyclist and have a member of the club who can vouch for you and accompany you on the ride, you are welcome to skip the Saturday session and go straight to a Sunday taster. After that, if you want to join us then just pay your yearly subscription of £35 and become a full member! If you want to join us, please go to https://rprouleurs.co.uk/membership
How far is a lap of Richmond Park?
One lap is around 11km / 6 ½ miles with about 100m / 320ft of elevation
How far do you ride on Saturday lap sessions?
We tend to do between 2 – 4 laps, but it’s up to you. We always regroup after each lap at the starting point so you can go at whatever pace suits you. We are usually finished within around two hours including breaks, coffee and chats. You can leave the Saturday laps session at any point, but be sure to tell one of the ride leaders that you are leaving.