We pride ourselves on being friendly and not elitist, even though we have some very talented and experienced riders. We welcome potential new members and although groups will split up due to terrain and ability we always come back together and we never, ever leave anyone behind. We look after each other.
The club ride is a time for members to meet up and have a chat whilst working on fitness and skills as well as taking time to enjoy the fabulous scenery we have on our doorstep.
When and Where
Saturday. Meet at 9am Fredericks Ice Cream Parlour on the A6. PR7 4AL
Sunday. Meet at 9am The Crown Pub, Chorley New Road, Horwich. BL6 7QJ
Mid-week & evening rides are often organised at the last minute. Please keep an eye on our forum.
Chain Gangs and fast training will start again in Spring. Details will be posted on our forum soon.
Speed and distance
Expect an average speed of 15-16mph and distance from 40-80 miles, 100+ on occasions. Some rides will be mainly flat, others very hilly. It’s usual to assess who has turned up and ride accordingly and this will affect the nature of the ride.
Riding in a group
Riding in the HCC peleton is great fun and can be exhilarating once you have mastered the basics. We like to foster an image that shows we are organized and know how to ride well together with respect for other road users.
Some tips on group riding with HCC (Group ride intro video).
Interested? Make yourself known on our forum. We’d love to hear from you!
Club rides in Winter
Traditionally, with the exception of those who race cyclocross, these rides are a time to kick back for steady miles and a more social experience.
Steady rides provide a good base for faster riding when Spring arrives so for example, if you are planning a sportive, want to race or simply get strong these rides are for you. Injecting a little quality is a good thing so the odd sprint can’t be ruled out!
Expect to be out for 3 to 4 hours (45-65 miles) with no café stop or 60-80+ with a café stop
Club rides in Spring/Summer/Autumn and midweek
As well as simply going out for a long ride sometimes we will ride midweek for a shorter period and these will feature a training element i.e. changes of pace, intensity, ‘through and off’, sustained pace etc. They really bring on your fitness.
For midweek rides, members just post on the forum.
Club rides for older members
Older riders might wish to consider joining our less intense Tuesday and Thursday morning rides which go out from Horwich for a ride with café stop. (we need details from them to put into the calendar)
‘The Chain Gang’
Currently HCC share this experience with Lancashire Road Club on a local circuit of about 4 miles around Rivington. Generally held on a Monday and Tuesday evening it’s an opportunity to train intensely, be specific and to ride ‘through and off’. Details will be on the calendar and forum, just turn up.
The rides vary in terrain, some out on flatter routes (west of the M6) and others hillier (east of the M6). Members have extensive knowledge of good roads but are always open to new suggestions!
Occasionally we ride further afield and plan weekends away usually starting in late February, early March in North Wales.
How many turn out?
In Winter expect to find 6-10 of us, increasing in Spring and varying during Summer/Autumn as members participate in events.
Don’t be put off by the time or distanceIt is amazing how far a group can ride in comfort. Usually the pace will be steady with an average of around 15-16mph although with the hills in our area we sometimes can’t avoid serious effort now and again. But for every climb there’s a descent where you can recover and once confident we can all get a buzz from riding
at a good pace for short periods when the terrain is flat.
Whilst you do need to feel confident about maintaining the average speed you mustn't worry about it too much. Riding in a group is a lot easier than riding alone, especially when you begin to feel a bit tired. It is also social and quickly develops skills, strength and speed. We learn a lot from each other.
As far as equipment goes you need a well maintained road bike and a helmet.
Always think about your food and drink, as although we sometimes have café stops there will be plenty of times we do not. Wear clothing appropriate to the time of year.
Good tyres are essential with a couple of spare inner tubes and the kit to put air back in.
A mobile phone is useful and don’t forget your cash for the café stop or emergency food supplies!
In winter these things are more important so wear clothing to try and keep as warm and as dry as possible and buy a good pair of neoprene overshoes
Unlike many other clubs we do not insist on mudguards or crud catchers in winter. They do help to keep you drier but don’t worry no-one will ‘have a go’ if you don’t have them.
Let’s face it, sometimes riding can be a bit wet, cold and dirty, it’s one of the things you have to get used to. If you end up racing in the wet you might be glad of the experience of spray in your face and wet bibshorts!
Tips for group riding with HCC
Group riding can be intimidating at first but you soon get used to it. Look ahead and keep a consistent line of travel. Use your eyes and ears to remain aware of what is happening around you. Never be complacent, we can all learn to ride better. Try and stay relaxed.
Overall control of the group
Not something we make a great deal of fuss about but usually someone will have a route in mind and shout out directions.
Occasionally, the more experienced riders will be vocal in controlling the ride’s pace and style. This is nothing to worry about, usually they know what they are talking about and are not too intense about it. After all we need to learn to ride safely and make a good impression. If they get too full of themselves someone will have a word.
Share the workload
If you feel up to it then take a turn on the front to give others a rest. Sometimes we will make swooping a regular feature on a ride. However, be aware of your speed. It’s easy to ride at a comfortable pace in the group and then ride too fast when it is your turn on the front. This will just fragment the group and might be unfair on weaker riders.
Riding in pairs
Common practice when it is safe to do so and a key skill. The inner rider should stay reasonably close to the kerb in order not to push the outer rider towards the middle of the road. Riding shoulder to shoulder is what we aim for as it’s neater, safer and looks better.
Riding on the front
Make the pace and try to judge this according to the group. Riders behind need to make it known if it is too quick (or not quick enough!).
Riding close in a group
The most challenging aspect is safely riding close to the rider ahead. If you let a gap appear you will have a hard time as any drafting effect is lost. Over a few hours you will get tired and can also begin to feel isolated. Both are no fun.
Good confident riders stay very close to the wheel in front, anticipating movement and above all trusting implicitly in the rider ahead (it’s very important to watch how you brake and move). You soon learn who you can trust and who you might not, but it is very rewarding when you learn this level of confidence.
Try to avoid braking harshly or unnecessarily. Remember someone may be only 2cm from your back wheel. You’d be surprised but whilst we all need to anticipate when to slow down, quite often braking simply isn’t required!
A good technique to develop this skill is to focus on the wheel in front and follow it wherever it goes. This is easier when going uphill and you can then progress to doing it on the flat and at speed.
For similar reasons avoid sudden sideways movements too. Remember that unless you control it, your bike will sometimes drift in the opposite direction to where you are looking.
This can be tricky for some. A tip if looking back to the right: check ahead, put your left hand on top of the bars towards the middle and place your right hand on your hip or even out behind you, it will stabilise your position making it easier to look and ride straight (opposite for the left).
If you are in a racing position then it’s a case of relaxing the left or right shoulder/arm, bending the elbow and glancing behind.
Common vocal signals
Riders on the front may call “Single out” i.e. ride in a single line when they judge the roads are too narrow, a car is approaching (also expect to hear “Car down”) or something else makes it unsafe to ride side by side.
Riders at the back may call out “Single out” especially when watching the traffic behind. Similarly if you hear “Car behind!” expect to “Single out”.
“Middle!” “On your left!” “On your right” usually mean an obstruction, pothole or similar.
“Slowing!” for example when lights turn red
“Pedestrian”, “Walker”, “Runners” usually means we are approaching and need to swing out and take care
“Horses” will definitely mean we are slowing down and riding quietly past
“Tim’s on one” means he woken up thinking he’s Fabian Cancellera again and has put the hammer down (try not to spoil his daydreaming). Seriously, human nature being what it is, we have fun and get carried away sometimes!
Riders at the front will often point left or right at the road surface instead of or as well as shouting out
Like in a car, waving the arm/hand out and up/down slowly means slowing down.
The elbow flick means “come on past, it’s your turn”
Only move if clear to do so, remember to observe and anticipate. Don't overlap wheels or force your way through.
Be assertive with your position but remain aware of riders around you
Most importantly stay relaxed as this is the best way of avoiding an accident or mistake. Your bike knows when you are tense and will react accordingly (well not really but you know what we mean!)
Taking turns, takes practice. In single file the riders coming from behind usually come up the side that is out of the wind to make it easier to get on the front. You drift down to the back.
When taking over in pairs it’s trick if the lead riders split and float down each side to the back to let the 2 behind and those following cruise through. Traffic awareness required!
Most of all enjoy it! It's a great feeling sharing the work.