Tips For Beginners
1. Basic Requirementsa) A roadworthy bicycle in good running order -
A bike that is fully functional and well lubricated with efficient brakes and gears and with all bolt-on items well tightened. Tyres and tubes should be sound and well inflated (under-inflated tyres do not roll easily and invite punctures and rim damage). Wheels should be tightly spoked and true with all bearings lubricated. Mud-guards should be fitted in the winter season (or whenever necessary).
b) Adequate clothing for the conditions -
Comfortable and protective clothing ranging from summer wear of light top/vest and comfortable shorts to winter wear of long-johns, warm leggings, thermal under/outerwear, hat, gloves and overshoes. Comfortable and stiff-soled shoes which properly fit pedals/toe-clips are essential. A cap or helmet is advisable. In races, and for juvenile/junior club members, a helmet is mandatory. Rainwear - a waterproof jacket should be carried. If you have club clothing WEAR IT - the club's principle asset is its sense of identity and camaraderie which is ONLY visible when members are identifiable as a club.
c) Some basic items of spare equipment etc. -
A good pump, tyre levers, at least one spare tube, a repair kit and some basic tools (e.g. allen keys, screwdriver, spanners). A spanner is needed if wheels are not a quick-release type. These items can be carried strapped behind the saddle, wrapped in your waterproof bag or in a small bag. Some form of identification should be carried, with a contact telephone number for emergencies, ALSO a statement of any special medical condition, treatment, allergies or medication being taken.
Never set out on an empty stomach - hunger weakness ("knock") is easier to prevent than cure. A bottle of water or juice is worth carrying, also a "reserve" energy or chocolate bar. Money should be carried for the purchase of food/drink or to telephone home in the event of an emergency.
3. Riding ConductFor beginners, but if the cap fits...
a) Do not brake unexpectedly when other riders are behind you.
b) Do not free-wheel when riding uphill, changing gear or when leading the bunch; do not "kick-back" into the following rider when rising from the saddle on a hill.
c) Do not "half-wheel" your partner when leading - it is bad manners.
d) Do warn your companions of potholes, gass, vehicles and other road hazards.
e) Do shout to let club leaders know if you puncture or have other trouble, or if you see another rider in trouble.
f) Do ride safely, steadily and considerately; do not overlap the bike in front and do not switch about.
g) Do choose the right gear, change quickly and smoothly - one gear at a time. Normally you will use moderate gears in the small chainring on club runs.