Why ride in a group?

There are many reasons for riding in a group whether it’s for safety, social training, competition or fitness. You will learn bike handling and road awareness skills and will be able to learn from experienced riders so that you understand more about riding and enjoy cycling even more.  Hopefully you will make new friends, find and experience different rides and routes with riders of similar ability or riders to improve with to achieve any goals you may have. By riding with an experienced group, we can help you if you are new to the sport or the area. We will help you if you get into trouble and by riding in a group, you are unlikely to get lost! There’s no shame in asking for help from more experienced riders, whether it’s changing an inner tube or looking at your position on the bike to sort out aches and pains. Many members have a wealth of experience they are happy to share.

Important information for Sunday morning rides

Sunday ride routes can be found here here. Forthcoming routes are also emailed to all members ahead of the weekend Please arrive at the Market Square at least 5 minutes ahead of time for any last minute route briefings and to get yourself into the right group. If it is your first time riding with the club, please make yourself known to one of the ride leaders organising the ride so that you can be looked after and to swap mobile phone numbers. If you are unsure as to which group to ride with and are new to group riding we encourage a conservative approach. Its’ better to be comfortable than to feel outpaced or feeling that you might be holding everyone up. If unsure, always choose a slower group and aim to finish comfortably. hr />

Our rules

Please read and respect our rules. They are for the safety of everyone:
  • No helmet = no ride
  • No time trial bikes (including road bikes with extensions) – these bikes are not built to work within a group ride
  • Road/gravel bikes only for all rides. Unfortunately mountain bikes, BMXs, fixies, and hybrid bikes don’t work well in larger group rides. If in doubt, please contact us first.
  • Single file as we head out on the ride and where necessary on narrow roads
  • Shoes – sorry no open toe sandals or poor foot protection
  • Please carry some form of identification in case of emergency – At least make sure someone is aware who you are in the market square before we leave.

Group riding – what to do ?

  • Remember please these are club rides and we want to ride in groups as safely as possible – please pay attention to the leaders and assistants and accept any advice they offer on safe group riding.
  • These are not training rides or races so please respect the group, if you are able take your turn on the front, and look after each other.
  • Try to avoid shooting off the front, it breaks up the group and can make it harder for vehicles to pass.
  • The routes are designed to allow you to drop back to a following group in the first few miles if you are struggling with the pace – if the pace is too slow please support the leaders and assistants and next time pick a different group.

General Advice

  • Bring a full bottle, some food, an inner tube and something to pump it up with too!
  • Make sure you have plenty to drink, even on a cold day you will need at least 500 ml of liquid for 2 hours and please bring something to eat.
  • You should make sure that you have fuelled up before you ride, but an energy bar or two is an essential part of your first aid kit.
  • Make sure that your bike is in good working order before you turn up. In particular check your tyres, pressure and brakes the day before.
  • Ideally you should know how to change an inner tube if you puncture – don’t be put off, we’re not going to test you!
  • Try to pass signals and warnings up the group. These will typically be hand signals or shouts pointing out obstacles to other riders.
  • Keep a steady, predictable line. If you need to avoid something in the road, try to be smooth and point it out to other riders!


  • Our groups will ride at no more than 12 riders together and our ride leader will be “marshalling” and directing the ride – please listen to them.
  • In traffic or in town, be prepared to leave a gap or two so that any traffic can safely pass – there is nothing worse than a queue of impatient drivers behind you waiting for what seems like an eternity!
  • DO NOT wave a car on to overtake in case of unforeseen situations. It could be a recipe for disaster if someone gets waved through and to then encounter an on-coming vehicle.
  • If a car approaches from behind, ride closely together in pairs or single file, let the car driver decide when it is safe to overtake. Likewise, on narrow roads, do not cut corners in case of oncoming traffic.

Riding in a pack

Always be conscious of the riders around you and to ride smoothy with no sudden or erratic movements forwards, backwards or sideways especially when braking or riding out of the saddle.

At the front

You are the eyes of the bunch as everyone else’s view is obstructed by you. It is up to you to spot dangers in good time and ensure everyone in the bunch avoids the danger. Identify potholes/obstructions by pointing as well as calls such as ‘hole left’ then smoothly steering around them, giving the riders behind you enough time to react. You do not need to call every single little blemish in the road surface, just the ones that will cause an issue if you are forced to ride through them. Signal parked cars that require riding around and call traffic coming towards you on narrow roads with the call “car front”. Riding in the middle of the pack Keep a close eye on the wheel in front and relay any obstruction calls or other instructions up and down the pack. Do not overlap the wheel of the rider in front, if you do ands have to swerve suddenly it could bring down the whole group. You should be aware of the rider behind you, to the side of you and the five nearest riders around you in the pack.

Riding at the back of the pack

It is your responsibility to warn the group of traffic coming up from behind with the call “car back” and then “coming through” as it starts to overtake. It is also your responsibility to clearly signal to any traffic behind when the group is turning left or right.

Drifting off the back

Tell someone if you have a problem. Tell the riders around you if you have a puncture, mechanical problem, or if you just aren’t feeling too good. Don’t drift off the back without letting the ride leader know.

Riding off the front

Remember that our rides are group rides, not training rides or races, we’re aiming to ride together, socialise, and have fun!

Don’t attack off the front as it will upset the discipline and pace of the group and makes it much harder for the ride leader to keep track of where everyone is and their safety. If you want to ride faster than the advertised group pace, either go up a group or do so outside of the club ride structure. 

  From time to time we may race up a climb, or sprint for the town sign on the way back into Saffron Walden. If your group does do this, be aware of where other riders in the group are and be safe! If you’re going to come around someone, make sure you check over your shoulder for cars and other riders. We don’t anyone to have an accident.