Frequently Asked Questions

Can I try before I join?

Yes, please come along and give it a go…you are welcome as a guest but will need to join after two or three rides if you like what we are offering.

What can I expect on a ride?

A friendly group of riders from a variety of walks of life with a passion for mountain bike riding.

Our rides vary in pace and can include steep slopes but it’s important you stay safe and enjoy the ride, so if you aren’t comfortable with any aspect of the ride let the ride leader know.

Ride leaders are not formally trained but all are experienced riders.

We try to organise groups of similar abilities but we don’t teach skills so you will need some mountain bike experience or bike handling ability as well as being fit enough to cycle for three hours – more for an all-day ride.

See About Our Rides or get in touch through the Forum or Contact Us for more details.

Where do you ride?

Off road wherever possible (tarmac is the devil’s work) in what’s referred to as XC or cross country mountain biking. Start points are up to an hour’s car travel from Southampton and Winchester which takes in the New Forest and much of Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire.

All day rides in the summer have included the South Downs, the Isle of Purbeck, Salisbury Plain, the Surrey Hills, the Marlborough Downs and the Isle of Wight.

How long do you ride for?

Fortnightly Sunday rides start promptly at 10:00am and finish around 1:00pm, unless it’s an all-day ride which normally includes a lunchtime pub stop and returns between 4:00pm and 5:00pm. See the Rides page or the Newsletter for details.

Start times for mid-week rides are between 6:00pm and 7:00pm with finish times similarly spread. Get details from the Forum and don’t hesitate to ask for information.

How far do you ride?

It depends on terrain, weather and the individuals in the group but about 25 to 30 kilometres (15 to 20 miles) on a three hour ride. All-day rides may be up to 50 kilometres (30 miles).

Speed and distance travelled off road may seem low compared to road cycling but the energy expended is not!

What are the abilities of the other riders?

We aim to put people in groups of similar ability with a maximum of about twelve.

  • Hot Group – Enthusiastic, fit members who will take on a fast, strenuous and technical ride.
  • Medium Group – Less demanding but you will need to be moderately fit and have ridden mtb before or have good bike handling skills.
  • Cool Group – A steady pace, potentially suitable for novices or those who aren’t as fit or as confident as they would like.

However we don’t guarantee to run all three groups on every ride. If in doubt Contact Us or post on the Forum before the ride.
We ride responsibly, keep to sensible group sizes and appropriate speeds and follow the countryside code.

How technical is the riding?

We don’t have mountains locally but we do have woodland and Rights of Way that can provide challenging singletrack and steep, slippery and rutted routes. The trick is to ride them at a speed you are comfortable with.

Singletrack is just that –a single, narrow track that can undulate and twist in an unpredictable manner. Ride them in a fast and fluid fashion whilst threading your bike through and over branches, roots and the occasional obstacle.

Rutted Rights of Way test your precision and balance, particularly in the mud, whilst wet, slippery chalk can crop up unexpectedly.

Night riding adds its own challenges and purpose built lights are essential, see the Night Rides page for more information and the Forum for ride details.

Members also get together for trips to more technically demanding areas like Exmoor, the Quantocks, the Brecon Beacons and the Peak District with the trail centres in Wales another favourite.

Do you have a map of the ride?

Group leaders choose the routes which are not published in advance. Ask the group leader if a copy is available or use a smart phone to record it. Please do not publish the route to the web e.g. Strava or similar.

Is the ride still happening?

Our regular, fortnightly Sunday rides happen throughout the year, regardless of the weather, and we haven’t cancelled one in the last 15 years! (Except due to Covid-19)

Mid-week rides depend on who is available so keep an eye on the Forum.

What should I bring?

A reliable and well maintained bike. Helmets MUST be worn on all Club rides, dress for the weather and be prepared for it to change.

Also carry:

  • A drink and a snack.
  • Puncture repair kit, spare tubes and a pump.
  • Emergency contact details in the event of an accident.

Where do you meet before the ride?

Ride venues, grid references and dates are available ahead of time on the Rides page or in the Newsletter which members receive quarterly.

Please car share if at all possible and be considerate when parking as some of our start points are popular places.

How many female riders are there?

Up to a third of the riders in a group are often female but the proportion can vary; however it is unusual not to have at least one other female rider in a group.

How much does it cost?

We have an annual subscription and don’t charge per ride. Individual or Family Membership can be bought through Paypal on the How to Join page, or by post.

Subscriptions cover the costs of a quarterly newsletter and as a bonus we have negotiated discounts for Members at local bike shops. Details on the Links page.

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