|The whole point of the weekend is for you to
have FUN while riding at all times within your "comfort
zone". You won't have that if you feel that you're
obliged to gallop along at a rate that you don't feel
comfortable with, neither will you if you feel that
you're dawdling along and are getting bored...
group is made up of riders with varying degrees of
experience, age, skill, enthusiasm, horsepower, machine
control and stamina. I like to think that we can cater
for everybody but it's obvious that somebody who has
only recently passed their test will find it daunting to be thrown into this particular
deep-end...It's also important that everybody is
committed to their riding and, normally, the fact of
having to ride all the way down here is a guarantee of
that. If you are a "new" rider however
it might be worth postponing your 1st trip until you've
undertaken some additional training in the UK (see the
LINKS page) or just piled on the miles and are feeling
confident with your riding.
is the key; how FAST you ride is definitely NOT.
Groups are, by definition, made up of riders with varying
levels of confidence and we
can cater for this by applying the
"Drop-off system" This is not complicated but I've
managed to make it appear so in the following
explanation. Read it carefully as you'll be quizzed on
it once you eventually arrive here...
The Drop-off system
The system requires a leader (that's ME!), the riders/junction
markers (you!) and a
tail-ender (also one of you!)
The LEADER - knows where we're going!....
The RIDERS - That's you and hopefully you'll be following
me. At any point the
route deviates I will
signal the bike immediately following me to stop so as to mark the junction for
the following riders (this rider then becomes a JUNCTION MARKER. D'oh!). He will stay there until the
The Junction Marker then moves off
ahead of the tail-ender and becomes one of the
"Riders" again. I will repeat this every time
there is a change of direction and so you will all get
an opportunity to be a Junction Marker. Overtaking is fine and is in fact essential for the
smooth operation of the system, but please be careful and courteous!
TAIL-ENDER - will stay at the back for
an entire section of the ride (from leaving the house to the first
coffee stop, for example) and will be wearing a hi-viz
tabard to make him clearly visible to all the other
riders in the group. The tail-ender is exactly that,
nobody else in the group should ever get behind him and he
will move the "Junction Marker" on ahead of him once he
arrives at the junction. If anyone drops out of the group
the Tail-Ender will stop with them and find out what is
going on. If there is a problem he will get in touch
with the leader, or if they are just stopping for a wazz
he will wait with them so
that the next marker, further up the road, stays in place
until they both arrive
The result is that nobody has to worry about getting
lost. Even if you can't see any bikes ahead of you, you know
that they'll be waiting at the next junction. Everybody
rides at their own rate, nobody has to pedal harder
than they want to.
It works brilliantly and means
that a group with differing skills and experience
can travel well together although spread out over a mile
or two of road.
By the first coffee-stop of the
first day, you'll have totally understood the system and
can forget about being lost or left behind and get on
with improving your riding.
Think of it as a game of leap-frog....
without the falling over bit...