Novice-Friendly Rides

What to expect on your first Club ride.

We’re aware that going on a ride with a club can be an intimidating experience for new or returning riders. Imagine arriving, finding an unfriendly bunch of hardcore bike nuts who barely acknowledge your presence, snigger at your bike and then pedal off into the distance within three minutes of starting. Then there’s the possibility that the route will be some sort of downhill epic involving a drop-off a cliff (“don’t worry, the bike will  jump it for you if you just let it…”).

With all this in mind we run regular ‘novice friendly’ rides. This means that the route will be suitable for riders who wish to build up their confidence and that the pace will be adjusted to match the slowest rider. There will be plenty of support and advice, and you’ll be under no pressure to do anything you’re not happy with. We pride ourselves on being friendly and having fun, and that part is identical to the regular rides.

It’s hard to predict what ability range we’ll have on every ride. If anyone struggles on a ride and does not wish to continue then we will accompany them back to the start at their own pace.

You should be comfortable with riding off road for 2-3 hours including rest stops. This might include walking up steep hills. In that time you might travel between 10 and 20 miles depending on the conditions. Be aware that off-road cycling is a lot more demanding than on road. If you have any doubts then please contact us.

The more you ride, the more fit and confident you will become. We all remember starting out riding. Most sane people are apprehensive about falling off and the best way to change that is to keep riding and build up your skills and confidence.

Novice friendly

All our events are listed on the events page, the novice friendly ones have an ‘n‘ symbol next to them. The distances/type of terrain are always made clear on the event listing and you can ask any questions or discuss the ride either on the event listing or on facebook.

In the lighter months (May-September), a great place to start is on our Wednesday night rides. In the darker months (October – April) our midweek rides are in and around Swindon itself, though our weekend rides still head out into the countryside.

Read a first timer’s description of a novice friendly ride.

Having said all this, our mainstream rides aren’t generally taken at race pace, so if you’re reasonably confident you could give those a go. If you have any doubts then ask on our Facebook group or contact us.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Ho Ho Ho ,That will teach him to put truck tyres on MTB. 😉 Or is he submitting a perfect reverse Parabola ? Perfected by that elusive MTB icon Ivor Faceplant ?

  2. A bit more on what these rides are about, copied from a reply to a question we had:

    “Don’t worry about your fitness level, that’s the whole point of these rides – get people out riding where they don’t have to worry about holding people up or being stranded in the middle of nowhere because they couldn’t keep up. We have frequent stops for people to regroup & never make a turning without ensuring everyone is aware of it.”

    Also, our “Novice Friendly” rides are run by experienced riders – several are also qualified MTB instructors/leaders – so if there’s anything you’re unsure of, there will be excellent advice on hand. And if you still feel uncomfortable, no-one’s going to mind if you take the option of getting off and walking a section.

  3. nice face plant

  4. BIG SMILE 🙂
    For the benefit of any seniors thinking of visting your circuit, I offer my personal thoughts and experience.
    First thoughts – outstanding.
    Half a century ago I used to go to the local (open) rubbish dumps and collect parts of old bikes, make a whole one ane use my hard earned pocket money and paper round money at the age of 12 to build a whole bike and put a knobbly tyre on the back with ‘cow-horn’ handlebars, then sell it to the locals as a ‘trials bike’.
    We would ride through the woods up and down the ditches until we were exhausted and go home delighted.
    I have always remembered the joy and fun I had from these years. (and fitness).
    After a break of too many years from cycling, on Monday (9th July), my 63rd birthday, I took my (basic) mountain bike on your blue course and stopped for breath a couple of times but was sent back 50 years. What joy.
    I was back again next day and was 10 minutes quicker but sore in the delicate places.
    Must get a better saddle.
    Today I joined your club, if only to support the efforts you have put in to the circuit.
    My intentions are to visit the circuit regularly to lose weight and gain fitness. I may gain the confidence to join one of your events later when I get the stamina (I have the strength but out of breath and overweight).
    I have purchased a used road bike to establish which is the most enjoyable and beneficial to my fitness (First visit to your track, I and the bike were plasterred in mud after the rides) but it has been exceptionally wet and the track is under woodland cover and slower to dry. Next day was much better until a rainstorm halfway round.
    My dilemma is which to spend my investment on. A road bike to cover clean but dangerous roads, or XC to do what my heart and memories tell me. I think no contest but in my senior years I need to experience both before investing.
    My heart tells me I will keep my basic mid range road bike for the dry quiet days and invest in a good XC for fun and fitness supporting the local community.
    Hope to be fit enough to meet you soon.


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