We have a number of rideouts, usually on a Sunday morning, starting at 0800 from March until November and then 0900 in the winter. We always have a cafe stop, usually about two thirds of the way into the ride, although that can vary according to the planned destination. Mileages will vary according to the group and we have no objection to riders who wish to make their own way to the cafe stop doing so and meeting us there (although we do reserve the right to change the cafe stop in the event of inclement weather).
Visitors and new riders should note that Tavistock and the surrounding area is quite hilly and most rides will encounter hills at some point or other – in fact some riders actively seek them out! On the plus side though, we have downhills too. Please bear this in mind if your previous experience is on more gentle terrain.
Through the clubs affiliation with British Cycling third party cover is provided for the club and its officials against their legal liability for personal injury, death and/or property damage to a third party arising from their negligence.
However, this cover does not extend to club members, unless the member is also a club official acting on club business.
Therefore you may want to consider the following:
- Club members who pay for individual membership of British Cycling or Cycling UK (formerly CTC) are provided with similar levels of third party cover; as club officials benefit from under the clubs affiliation
- Club members who are not members of British Cycling, Cycling UK or another body, such as The British Triathlon Federation, will not have third party cover unless they have arranged it independently
- Club members who do not have insurance cover may wish to consider if they require it
The club does not and cannot provide advice or recommend insurance policies. Details about the insurance cover and other membership benefits provided by British Cycling and Cycling UK can be found on their websites.
- Please bring at least one spare inner tube, along with some tyre levers and make sure that the tube is the right one for your bike. If you have a deep rim, you will need one with a long stem.
- You'll need a pump, and before you buy it, make sure that it is one that you can use. If you are weak of arm, don't buy a widdly little pump that needs the strength of Samson to operate it.
- A puncture repair kit can come in handy if things get desperate, but hopefully you won't ever need one, so this is optional.
- Practice changing a tyre, if you have someone to show you how, or ask someone in the club to show you - you might be on your own one day.
- If your bike hasn't been used for a while, please check it over, or have it serviced before you come out with us, there is nothing worse than being stranded miles from home on a broken bike that only needed a bit of TLC from a local bike shop.
- A small hex tool is always handy for tightening seatposts and other parts.
- You'll need some money for the coffee stop. As a guide coffee and cake should be mostly available for about a fiver at almost all our coffee stops.
- A mobile phone is handy for safety and 'come and get me' calls, but make sure that you waterproof it by putting it in a plastic bag.
- A packable waterproof is a good option, (depending on the forecast) but see the notes on clothing below.
- If you are new to riding long distances then until you know what you need, bring some food with you, ideally some sort of chocolate, flapjack or carb bar and perhaps a gel or two, you might not need them, but if you have never experienced running out of energy before, you'll be glad you brought them when you do.
- You need a drink, water will do for starters, but fill your bottle and on hot days, bring a spare, there aren't many taps on Dartmoor!
- You should get some lights for the early morning starts. You don't need anything special, but try and find a bright led rear light,one that flashes is even better. The front light doesn't need to light the way, we rarely ride in the dark, but should allow you to be seen.
- Rucksacks aren't advisable as your back will get very sweaty and uncomfortable.
- Clothing is always tricky and always depends on the weather and how hard you are going to cycle. The most common error is to wear too much, and get really hot, but it's a matter of trial and error. Also remember that flappy jackets will slow you down as the wind catches them, this can be wearing on a long ride.
- Shoe covers are handy when it get wet and to keep your feet a bit warmer in winter.
- You don't need to wear cleats and fancy cycling shoes, especially if you are just starting out, flat pedals with trainers is fine, but you will find it easier to cycle with some sort of foot restraint eventually.
- You should always wear gloves, preferably with some sort of abrasion resistance on the palms, your hands may be the first things to hit the ground and it can be painful.
- We insist that our riders wear a helmet, any brand is fine, but it needs to be comfortable. We ride for about 3 hours on a Sunday, so get one that is ventilated and comfy.
- Padded shorts are preferred for long rides and you will sweat, at least a bit, so something that lets the sweat out is ideal, note that there is nothing wrong with Lidl bike gear, no one will laugh at you.
- You'll need some glasses, insects in summer, rain in winter, stones at any time.
We don't have rules for the bike, but lets face it, unless you are a real athlete, you are going to get left behind if you come on a mountain bike, or have to work very hard indeed to catch up. Similarly for a hybrid bike. So ideally you need a road bike, but we aren't snobby, you don't need a high end carbon bike to come out with us. A second hand basic aluminium road bike would cost you a couple of hundred pounds, but try to avoid 'bike shaped objects' from supermarkets, they can be heavy with poor quality components.
If you are new to cycling, don't spend too much, you might not like it! We are happy to give advice on what to buy (and where to buy it). You can see some of our advice elsewhere on this site.
- We try to ride on roads that are not too busy, but sometimes this isn't possible, so we have a few loose rules. The main one is 'be sensible'. If we are riding quickly, you can't hear cars coming up behind you, so ride in single file and take a look over your shoulder if you want to overtake. Similarly, if you hear car coming from behind, shout 'car back' and those that hear it should move into single file to allow the car to pass. It's down to your judgement, but we try not to hold cars up, or cause a nuisance, but at the same time, if the road is wide, sometimes it is enough to ease closer together to let cars go past.
- Try not to get angry about drivers who cut you up or come in too close. You won't modify their behaviour by swearing at them as they go past and we really don't want passers by to think we are a bunch of louts. Save your abuse for when you are out on your own (without a Tavy Wheelers shirt on).
- Avoid waving drivers on when they are waiting behind you, even if you can see the road is clear, let them make their own decisions.
- Use hand signals where possible. Apart from the standard signals for left and right turn, there are a number of other signals to indicate that you are slowing down, for pointing out hazards in the road and for indicating when you are moving out to avoid a pedestrian or a car. Look out for other riders using them and once you are happy that you know what they mean, use them yourself.
- Look out for horses, slow down and give them a wide berth. To be frank, some Wheelers can look pretty frightening in lycra, I don't want to be at the wrong end of a startled horse.
Rider to Rider Etiquette
- There are some good practices that most riders will follow.
- Don't allow your front wheel to overlap the back wheel of the bike in front - if they pull out quickly, you are both off.
- Don't overtake (undertake) on the inside – you may surprise other riders, with unpleasant consequences.
- When riding quickly in single file, try to take your turn at the front of the chain (if you can) - it's only fair.
- Don't block the road on hills so that faster riders can't come around you.
- Don't ride too close behind riders going downhill (if they brake, it will hurt both of you).
- If you are a little faster than your peers, choose a safe place to wait for them at the top of the hill rather than blasting off into the distance.
- Try to look after the rider behind you, if the guy at the back has a puncture and finds his pump is rusty (no jokes please) then Dartmoor can be a lonely place. Sometimes this might mean a long slow ride looking after someone. That's part of club riding, they will be there for you one day.