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FAQs

Frequently asked Questions for new members:

1. Where do the Andover Wheelers ride?

We are based at Andover in Northern Hampshire and are one of the longest established cycling clubs in the country.   We cycle mainly in the country lanes of Hampshire, Wiltshire and Berkshire.  We currently have approaching 100 members interested in a range of cycling activities.

2. When do you ride?

All details for the club rides can be found on the Club Rides page.

3. Do I need to be a member to ride?

No, not initially, but we do require you to join after a few rides with us if you wish to continue riding.   It is also a good idea to join British Cycling or CTC for public liability insurance purposes.

4. I am under 18, do you have junior members?

Yes, we do and juniors are most welcome. We do not have a special group for juniors, however, so you will need to be able to ride the mileages and at the sort of speed mentioned elsewhere in this FAQs

5. I've never ridden in a group before, does that matter?

We ride fairly closely in pairs on Club runs; this can be a bit daunting if you have never done it before. If you are new to group riding, start off at the back so that you can see how it is done and gain confidence. The Club issues a guide for those new to group riding ( link HERE)

6. What about traffic, I find riding in traffic scary?

Our club runs all use quiet roads in the country as much as possible and the countryside starts a few miles from Andover. You will find riding in a group gives an additional sense of security and you will soon find your confidence growing as you see how others cope with traffic.

7. How fit do I need to be to ride with you?

If you can ride around  alone 20 miles at a reasonable average speed (say 15mph) you should be fit enough  for the Saturday ride, which will average 16mph for 35-40 miles. If you are not sure about your fitness then either contact us or come out on the Saturday club ride where members will be happy to advise you.

8. What happens if I can't keep up?

If you only struggle on significant hills this won't be a problem as we always regroup at the top of hills (excepting the very fastest group). If you can't keep up on small hills or the flat then you need to ride more by yourself to improve your fitness. However, if you decide to try a club ride we wouldn't leave you behind; we don't want to put people off club cycling by leaving them behind on a club ride.

9. What should I eat before riding?

It is essential that you eat a proper breakfast before riding - porridge or similar is best.   Take water on the ride along with some ‘on bike’ food that you know that you can digest whilst on the move (bananas, fig rolls, breakfast bars)

10. What happens if I puncture on a ride?

Put your hand up and shout “puncture” and coast to a suitable place to stop well off the road. The group will wait while you replace the tube, so make sure you have spare tubes, tyre levers and a pump. Help and/or advice will be willingly given if you need it

11. What type of bike do I need?

Everyone in the club rides lightweight, dropped handlebar bikes. Most have gears, some ride fixed wheel. A mountain bike with slick tyres is OK, but the extra weight will make it a bit harder. In winter we prefer you to have mudguards,  as riding without them can make life very unpleasant for yourself and others if it is very wet. Many members have “winter bikes” for this purpose.

12. What about clothing?

We naturally like members to wear club kit.  Our kit is from Halo Sports (UK) and is of excellent quality and good value. (link HERE to club kit).  We recommend proper cycle clothing, particularly cycling shorts with proper padding (worn without anything underneath), and closely fitting cycling jerseys. We also recommend cycling shoes with cleats for clip-in pedals. If it looks like rain bring a waterproof that packs up really small.

13. Is there anything I should know about cycling etiquette?

New members have to buy all the beers for senior club members.  No, only kidding, part of the fun of joining a club is the help and advice that is available to you from life-long cyclists.  They will be happy to explain the small amount of cycling etiquette to you.

14. Do I have to race?

No, we are quite happy for you to just ride club runs as many members do. But what we do not want is for you to keep upping the pace of club rides because you find them too slow. If you are doing that then you should be training  and racing in a faster group.

15. How do I start racing?

The easy way to start is to try one of our many  summer Tuesday evening  time trials. These  can be entered on the evening without any advanced notice required. These will give you a good idea of your competitiveness and how much training you need to do. You do not need a racing license for club time trials run by the Andover Wheelers.  If you wish to try road racing you will need a BC licence and start as a fourth category or a youth rider and you can then enter any race catering for this category. You can also try age related racing with the LVRC (League of Veteran Racing Cyclists), for those over the age of forty.  Closed circuit racing is readily available, for BC memmbers at locally at Ludgershall, Thruxton, Portsmouth and Castle Coombe.

16. What is the difference between time trials and road racing?

Time trials are individual efforts against the clock over a set distance usually on public roads with riders starting at one minute intervals. In road racing up to 80 or so riders start together and battle it out over a number of laps of a circuit that may or may not be on public roads. Road racing is split up into ability categories and some are handicaps but in time trialling it is the rider against himself, for this reason we recommend that as the first step into racing.

17. What are the different types of cycling you do?

We are a road club and we promote time trials and road races details of which are on the website.

18. I thought the Olympics was great. Do you do Track cycling?

We do have members who race at the indoor track at Calshot and the outdoor track at reading.

19. Do you do off-road?

Not officially, but many members of the club own a MTB, and off road rides are organised on an ad-hoc basis in the winter.  Some members also race Cyclo-cross in the winter months.

20. What about the social scene?

Following the club time trials in the spring and summer on Tuesday evenings and the chain gang on Wednesday evenings, club members meet at several local pubs for an informal get together.  The club also holds two  long weekend tours and also support a number of local charity sportives. A number of club members also take part in a  training week somewhere sunny (like Majorca) at the end of the winter (this is growing popularity) and of course there's always the excellent annual Club Dinner and prize giving.  Check out the Gallery to get an idea of the variety of social events.


21. I want to join, what do I do?

Come along and ride with us for a few weekends, and if you wish to join download and complete the membership form. Once complete send to the Club Secretary and pay either by cheque or the BC web site.