What should I expect on my first club ride?
Check our closed Facebook group for details of all rides that will be taking place – usually posted 24 hours before the ride. A timetable of our usual rides can be found here
We meet in Hilden Park car park (TN11 8LX) and rides generally start at 9.15am on weekdays, 9am on Saturdays and 9.30am on Sundays. Most rides are plotted so they take around 2 hours and 15 minutes but there is always the chance a ride may take longer! Please aim to arrive at least 10 minutes before the start time.
Generally we don’t stop for coffee during our normal club rides but have one after at the Hilden Park café.
What type of bike will I need?
To take part in club rides you will need a road bike. Other kinds of bikes can be used at your induction if required, but not on club rides.
For the purposes of club rides, the definition is a bike with the following:
- Drop handlebars
- Tyres that are smooth and no more than 32mm wide.
- Ability to fit a rear mudguard – these are compulsory on our winter rides
- Suitable gearing – 50/34 or 52/36 or a triple chainset (50/40/30 or similar).
- Brakes may be rim or disc brakes
- Both tyres with inner tubes and tubeless tyres are acceptable
- Clipless pedals (cleats) are desirable (Look and Shimano’s SPDs are common) but not essential
The reason for this is to keep our groups together, for rider safety and confidence and courtesy to other road users.
Do I need to book on to club rides?
No! All our club rides are ‘just turn up’ with no booking required. Do check the Facebook group for any last minute changes before you set off however, especially in the event of bad weather.
Do I need to wear KVG Kit?
Club kit is not compulsory although most of our members choose to buy and wear it. We do ask that you don’t wear kit from another cycling clubs on our rides.
Do I need padded shorts and bike shoes with clipless pedals?
You will certainly be more comfortable on a bike if you wear shorts/ trousers with built in padding (known as a chamois) and we would recommend this. Cycling shorts are designed to worn next to the skin, without other underwear. This can be a strange concept for new cyclists but it reduces the risk of any chaffing, as does using some chamois cream on the skin.
Cycling shoes that clip into your pedals are not essential and you are very welcome to use flat pedals if you prefer. In time, you may wish to start using bike shoes as secure connection between your shoes and your pedals makes cycling feel easier and enables you to use the muscles in your legs more efficiently.
Do I need a bike computer?
A bike computer records data (speed, distance, cadence etc) as well as allowing you to follow a pre-planned route. They are not essential, but most keen cyclists find them invaluable, and use them for every ride.
Is there anything else I will need?
You will need a helmet for all rides. All members need insurance and most opt to get this via British Cycling (see ‘how to join us’ for more details) but we also accept Cycling UK, BTF or an equivalent policy as long as proof is provided.
All members are required to carry a form of ID with ‘In Case of Emergency’ contact details (this can be a KVG membership card).
During the winter months (end October- end March) rear mudguards are required. This must be a long style guard and not a short, mountain-bike style mudguard.
Front and back lights are recommended all year round but not obligatory.
You will also need to ensure your bike is roadworthy and carry basic equipment so you can repair a puncture. Ride leaders are not responsible for fixing punctures or dealing with mechanicals, but they generally will help as much as they can!
As we don’t usually stop for refreshments during rides, please bring water and any food you think you will need on your ride.
How do I choose what to buy – there is so much choice in terms of bikes and kit!
A local bike shop is a great first point of call where they will be able to advise you about everything they sell and how it might suit you. We would recommend a specialist bike shop rather than a larger retailer. Bike shops should let you try a bike before you buy it and will be able to advise you on the best bikes for your budget, size and usage.
If you are looking to invest in a saddle, we have a selection at KVG that you can borrow to try out first.
How do I know which speed group to pick for my first rides?
We would recommend that most riders start with a few ‘easy’ rides while they get used to our club rides. After that, it may be appropriate to move to different group, but bear in mind it is not just a case of how fast you are able to ride. Different skills are required at the different levels of ride.
Details of the average speed, distance and elevation of all our regular club rides can be found on the ‘what we do’ section of the website.
Your ‘easy’ rides are longer and faster that I think I could manage. What are my options?
Total beginners/rusty riders can join local Breeze rides (you do not need to be a member of KVG to take part in these gentler rides on the roads and trails) to get them into the whole cycling experience in a gentler, less structured, way.
Where can I park?
The area closest to the Clubhouse is reserved for golfers and gym users so please park uphill (north) of the turnaround. The commuter car park is beyond the metal fencing – we may use this area at the weekend but not during the week. Even better – ride to Hilden!
Is there a maximum group size?
Yes – a maximum of 8 (although we often elect to ride in smaller groups).
Can anyone lead a club ride?
No. To lead a ride you must complete our Rider Development Course (usually held in the winter) to comply with terms of our club insurance. We really encourage ride leading – it’s very rewarding and we can offer so many different rides thanks to all our Ride Leaders.
What happens in bad weather?
Ride Leaders will post on Facebook by 7.30am if a ride needs to be cancelled due to bad weather. Snow and/or ice is the most common reason, also strong winds/heavy rain. Rides will always be cancelled if there is Met Office Red Warning and are likely to be cancelled in the event of an Amber Warning. Remember – it is YOUR decision whether or not to cycle!
Can I ride an e-bike on a club ride?
As a club, we are aware that the world of e-bikes (electric bikes) is fast evolving. Current rules stipulate that only current members with health conditions can use e-bikes on club rides with the Committee’s approval.
We would anticipate that, going forward, this may not always be the case and could be extended to new members provided they have a medical need and are experienced cyclists who have previously ridden in a club. This would continue to be at the discretion of the Committee.
What is a Turbo trainer?
A turbo trainer is a piece of equipment that makes it possible to ride a bike while it is stationary – used when outside conditions are bad (also for warming up before a bike race). Zwift is an online cycling training program which allows users to interact, train (and compete) in a virtual cycling world. The KVG & KVB have Zwift racing teams, and Zwift rides are often offered if club rides are cancelled due to bad weather.
Where can I find ride routes?
Most of our members use ridewithgps.com to plan and follow routes. Routes can then be downloaded onto your bike computer (Garmin, Wahoo or similar) and we encourage everyone to do this every ride. If you are unsure about planning a route, ask any of the Ride Leaders or click “Find” on ridewithgps.com for hundreds of local routes.
Does KVG hold special events?
Yes! There are club events throughout the year, both on and off the bike. These include our annual Bacon Butty Ride in January, our 50-mile course and stay-at-home training camp in the spring, Mallorca week in April, the club 25 and One-Day Tour (to the Isle of Wight or northern France) in early summer and several social events including first aid evenings and a Christmas dinner.
In summer months there may also be longer rides such as to the day trips to the coast (with options to get a train back) 100km rides and even 100 mile rides.
How is KVG managed and who do I contact with any problems?
KVG is run by a Committee of 7 elected members who all work as volunteers to manage the club on a day to day basis – everything from our events to social media to finances.
We welcome all feedback, positive and negative. Please contact any of the Committee members in confidence if you have a complaint or problem and we will endeavour to solve it.
How To Find Us
Most of our rides start and end at the Hilden Park Golf & Leisure Club, Hildenborough, Tonbridge TN11 8LX