Riding with us off-road

If you come out with us on off-road rides, you’ll be riding in a group in which riders are all responsible to each other to enjoy that everyone enjoys a safe ride. Here are some basic guidelines that we expect everyone on our off-road rides to follow.

We have a range of off-road bikes on our club runs, but most are of the cross-country type with front suspension as a minimum. Cyclocross bikes and fully rigid mountain bikes are likely to find the terrain too challenging, and downhill bikes are probably too heavy for the climbs covered by these rides.

Before the ride

Before the ride, ensure that your bike is roadworthy and safe to ride off road. In particular, you should check your brake blocks/brake pads will safely last the ride and that your gears are working properly.

You’ll need to carry at least one spare inner tube and a pump compatible with your type of inner tube valve. As a minimum, you’ll also need a showerproof jacket, drink, snack bar/s and some money for the café stop – usually £5 is enough. It’s not essential to carry lots with you; many of the regular off-road riders fit their essentials in their jersey pockets, however you may prefer to use a Camelback or similar backpack. During autumn and winter you’ll also need fully charged lights (front and rear) and suitable winter clothing, including footwear.

Difficulty in off-road riding is not so much measured by the miles covered but by the terrain and altitude gained, so please ask the ride leader about these before you set out, particularly if you are new to the club and not sure of how your fitness and technical skills will compare. You may prefer to contact Matt at matt.l@macclesfieldwheelers.org.uk beforehand to get an idea of what to expect on the next ride.

Our off-road rides generally consist of a 50/50 split of road and off-road – it’s not possible to reach our regular destinations entirely off-road. As such, the Highway and Countryside Codes apply. If you are not used to riding in a group on the road, albeit on mountain bikes, your fellow riders will tell you about the etiquette – road cycling rules apply for safety reasons; see Riding with us on the road.

During the ride

When riding off-road, stick to bridleways and other permissive tracks and always be courteous to other users and considerate towards livestock, farmland and wildlife. Where conditions are wet, always try to take the route that will cause least damage/erosion to the track or surrounding land.

When passing through closed farm gates, the rule applies that the rider to open the gate will close it once the last rider has passed through. If you open a gate, do not leave it unattended: stay there until you close it. If, however, a gate is already open before the first rider reaches it, leave it open.

Joining any ride organised by the club

You join any ride at your own risk and you must not expect the club to be liable for any injury, loss or damage you might suffer, however it is caused, unless it’s caused by the club’s negligence or fault.

While club members will help if you need mechanical or emergency assistance, neither the club nor its members are responsible for instructing or supervising you.

You are responsible for your own safety and complying with the law of the land.

If, on any club ride, you are directly involved in any incident resulting in any injury or alleged injury to any other member, guest rider or third party, or damage to their property, you must report it to the ride leader or event organiser or the Club Welfare Officer.

Any questions? Just contact matt.l@macclesfieldwheelers.org.uk.