There are usually two group rides on offer – you can decide on the day, which group to join.
Training Destination (TD) and Open Destination (OD) - both rides are organised in advance and are published on the website in the T5 calendar. The T5 rides engender a feeling of progression for the Associates - something they can aim for when they have achieved their test pass. They offer the opportunity to catch up with those you have trained with, and help to keep communication going between the two main parts of the club. They importantly help all members to develop their skills in an encouraging and well run atmosphere using the same training we have all received to the same standard.
* The TD ride, goes to the same lunch destinations as the club Observers and Associates who are in training.
* The OD group may or may not go to the TD, usually it goes to destinations that associates will not have been to. It is usually a longer ride.
We ride for about an hour and then stop for a comfort break and a chat at a cafe, for 20 to 30 minutes. Then it’s about another hour, to arrive at the club destination around 12:30 to 12:45pm.
Often, some of this group continue for a further impromptu ride after lunch, and make a whole day of it. You will be made very welcome if that suits you.
The guidelines for the organisation of OD rides are more relaxed. We may ride for a longer distance and take a longer time to reach coffee stops and lunch destinations.
There will be a briefing just before setting off. The Leader, who will have planned the Ride and will be wearing a yellow vest, will outline the route they are taking and the location of the intermediate comfort break. They will also introduce the Back Marker, who will be wearing an orange vest.
We ride using the ‘Drop Off’ system – so here’s a short explanation.
* The Leader and Back Marker never change position – they are always first and last.
* The rider immediately behind the Leader will mark any turn or deviation from the straight ahead route, by parking in full view of any following riders, and indicate the direction to take.
* They will stay there until the Back Marker appears and signals them to continue. When marking a route, you should never leave your marking position and follow the riders ahead, until the Back Marker signals you to continue. If you’ve waited approximately 15 minutes since the last rider passed, then you should think about turning around and retracing your route, to find out why no-one has appeared. Usually it’s because of a level crossing, difficult junction or breakdown etc.
* MOTORWAYS – DO NOT mark the exit – the Leader should have told everyone which junction to exit.
When riding in a group, it can be difficult for the whole ride to stay together. Only the Leader should decide whether to stop and try to re-group. Sometimes it’s safer & easier to continue. If the ride does stop, try not to park directly behind the leader, so they can look for the Back Marker in their mirror.
A few pointers for you to consider…
* You should ride to the system. Ride for yourself and no-one else.
* No overtaking in the group, unless it is for safety reasons.
* When riding in a group and only if it is safe to do so, try to avoid following the same line that the rider in front is taking. Try to ride in a staggered, footprint formation – see diagram on the right. This gives you, and the rider in front and behind, a better all-round view, and also allows you to ride a little closer, as there is no-one directly in front, so keeping the two second rule.
* This is of course unless you are cornering when you should take the line you have been trained to.
* When approaching hazards (junctions, railway crossings, traffic lights, etc), try to bunch up in the group. Try and make space for riders who are behind you to filter and join you at the front. We can sometimes fit 3 or even 4 bikes in the space of one car, so when the hazard clears, we can all move as one, helping to keep the group together. Be careful to leave enough space to the side of your bike, just in case someone falls or even if you fall!
* If you have formed up 3 or 4 abreast at a junction, stay slightly staggered so each rider can see left and right, (see diagram on the right) and wait for the bike you’re following in the group to move off, before you do. It’s your responsibility to keep behind it and maintain your position in the group. The bike in front has priority.
* If you decide to leave the group during the ride, make sure that someone, preferably the Back Marker, knows you are OK and that you are not continuing.
If you are not happy with the speed the group is riding at, slow down and ride at your own speed and ride for yourself, at your pace. If you have any health issues that might affect your ability to ride, let the leader know before the briefing, and they will try and accommodate you if they can.
Asking about more training…..
Every day we ride, we all learn something. Some days our lines aren’t just right, some days our cornering just doesn’t happen as it says in the book. Some days, even your own bike can feel alien, yet you did 200 ‘perfect’ miles on it yesterday! After you’ve joined Team 5, you might notice that your riding isn’t the same as others – that’s good because you’re riding for yourself.
Sometimes, you might feel that a bit of extra training might help. We have dedicated Observers who will gladly give you some post-test input to help your riding. Ask any one of the Observers or anyone on the committee, who will point you in the right direction. We also have our own T5 qualified Observers available.