Log in

Log in

Getting Started

All members can join all our cycling sessions straight away with the exception of the Saturday Group Ride. Details for all rides are posted on the Clapham Chasers members facebook page each week, usually a couple of days before the session. For the Saturday Group Ride you will need to join an Intro Ride first.

Whether you are a new member or just new to cycling with Chasers, this page will provide you with all the information you need to join our rides and make your cycling journey safe and enjoyable.

Please keep in mind that, as with all Chasers' activities, you take part at entirely at your own risk. Please consider this and the safety of other riders before joining a training ride.

Even if you are an experienced rider, please read and ensure that you are understand the minimum requirements below.

Requirements on All Rides

Intro Ride

All members need to attend an intro ride before joining Saturday Group Rides.


Check our essentials list to ensure you have the minimum kit and gear for your ride.

Read on for an in-depth list of what to carry in your ride.

Group Riding

All members are expected to be familiar and comply with group riding skills and etiquette.


Have a look at the insurance page for important information regarding insurance with regard to club sessions.

New to Cycling

Long distance, endurance, cycling is a wonderful sport and an activity that will get you hooked very quickly. But it can also come with some risks, as it requires specific equipment you need to be familiar with and that needs to be properly maintained, specific skills, such as riding in close proximity of others and riding at high speed, and specific fitness, as there is no shortcut to riding long hours in the saddle.

In this page we will provide you with a guide that will cover the most basic essentials that you will need for your very first ride and how you can acquire more equipment, confidence and fitness as you progress.

Where do I start?

If you are relatively new to cycling, the idea of joining a 100km ride that will have you climbing 4 hills, over possibly 4 or 5 hours, can be a daunting prospect. We wouldn't recommend that you join an intro ride and a Saturday Group Ride straight away, as you will need to build up the confidence to ride your bike and to ride in a group, and the fitness to endure the distance.

Apart from riding your bike on your own to rack up the miles - you can check out our Routes for some inspiration -, you can start by joining the midweek sessions, available during late spring to early autumn, while light permits, and start joining Sunday Social Rides. These are open to all members and are usually more relaxed than the Saturday rides. Meeting other members can also help you get a better idea of what you have ahead and build your confidence. For example, riding with one hand is one vital skill to feed yourself on the go and to make signals while riding in a group. This can be practiced while riding on your own if you don't feel fully confident at the start.

We also run a starter programme, Build Up to Brighton, that helps new riders build up their confidence and fitness from an initial 30km ride all the way up to the full ride to Brighton, one of the main events in our calendar.

Once you are confident on your bike, you will need to acquire the skills to ride safely in a group. The intro ride serves this purpose, providing the information you need to understand the risks of riding on a group and how to prevent them and the opportunity to practice in a safe environment. Once you have attended this, you are ready to join all the rides and keep making progress.

The Saturday Group Ride provides two routes - one long, one slightly less long, usually known as short - that will allow you to test your fitness and make better choices as to what route and group to ride with.

The main thing is to take one step at a time and build up your confidence with consistency. In no time you will be making more progress than you can initially think.

The guide below provides you with all the information on what you need to ride a bike, broken down in what's essential and what optional kit and equipment you can add as you make progress.


All you need is a bike, right? Or, is it? Keep reading to find out what you will need to get out there on a ride.


You wouldn't go to work in flip-flops, would you? Cycling has its dress code too. Follow our advice to avoid a faux-pas.


Like carrying an umbrella to prevent rain, always carry spares in the hope of not having to use them. But do carry them.


Cyclists are a rare breed that will make anything in their power to avoid a bonk. At least whilst on the bike.


Yes, you guessed right, all you need is a bike. Well, almost.

The essentials


A road bike with drop handlebars is the standard bike for the majority of our rides. It is mandatory for group rides, such as the Saturday Group Ride and the Sunday Social Ride.

Flat handlebars bikes - such as hybrids and mountain bikes - are not allowed in group rides for safety reasons. These handlebars can get stuck in a road bike's drop handlebars when riding in close proximity and cause a crash. TT bikes or TT extensions are not allowed in group rides for similar reasons. There is limited control when riding on the TT bars and brakes are not accessible.

These bikes are allowed in midweek training sessions that are geared towards individual interval effort.


The bike must be in riding and safe conditions before joining a ride. It is your responsibility to maintain it in good shape and to give it a quick check before joining a ride to ensure that:

  1. Your tyres are inflated and to the correct pressure.
  2. Your brakes work.
  3. Your gears work.
MudguardsDuring the winter months it is mandatory to wear mudguards, to prevent water in the road to splash on the riders behind you. 
LightsDuring winter months and during rainy days they are essential to keep you safe on the road. There are a huge variety, and not necessarily expensive.
Money and phoneEssential in every ride, carry them on a waterproof bag, such as a sandwich bag, to keep yourself covered in any emergency. 


As you gain experience you might feel the need for more sophisticated equipment. The investment you can make depends a lot on how much you ride.

Bike computer or speedometer

A basic speedometer is a helpful training tool and it helps you to keep a more consistent pace during group rides. They are not fancy but they are perfectly useful.

GPS bike computers are ideal for the job, as they also allow you to download routes and navigate. They are a pricey investment, but well worth it if you ride frequently and consistently.

Weather specific tyresDuring the winter months you might consider wearing thicker tyres with higher puncture resistance, as punctures are more common during the winter months. Tyres such as Schwalbe Durano or Continental Gagtorskins fit this category.

Back to top


As with most sports, cycling specific kit is a matter of function, rather than fashion, although style has increasingly a role to play too in how you dress on a ride. But the most important aspect is that cycling kit is designed to keep you comfortable during long hours on the saddle. The choice of kit is very much weather dependent, with endless options to stay cool or warm, dry, and pain free during your ride.

You don't need to have specific cycling kit to begin with, you can use running tights and base layers as they will keep you warm in the cold and also a light windbreaker is a good idea. As you progress you will feel the need for more specific kit.

The essentials

HelmetThe only mandatory piece of kit is a cycling helmet. You will not be allowed in a Chasers ride without wearing one. You can use whatever kit you have available, such as running kit, but your head should always be protected by a helmet. Period.


As you gain experience you might consider investing in some basics:

Cycling shortsThese are specifically designed with padding to protect your back side on long rides. They are almost essential. They also have a bib to help keeping them in place.
Cycling jerseyThey have pockets in the back to help you carry what you need on a ride: nutrition, spares, phone and money, etc.
Cycling shoes with cleatsThey have cleats on the sole and work in conjunction with pedals to provide a firm attachment to the bike. They take some getting used to them, but they improve your safety and performance.
GlovesNot only useful to keep your hands warm during the colder months, they are a good safeguard in case you fall off and protect your hands from rash. You have fingerless or full length.

And the list gets endless once you start considering variations of weather, style...

Arm and knee warmersYour first line of defence against the cold. These have the advantage that can be put on and taken off easily depending on the weather. Useful but for the crudest winter months.
Rain jacketAlmost an essential in our dear country.
Base layerA staple both in cold and warm weather, as it serves both to help evaporate your sweat and to keep you warm.
Caps, hats, casquettes...A head piece that will keep your head dry in the summer and warm in the winter. There are a range of thicknesses and materials suitable to each weather.
Winter tightsFull length, thicker, padded tights that will keep you warm and comfy in the winter months.
Winter jacketAn extra thick cycling jacket with pockets in the back.
ScarfIdeal to protect your neck and ears in those colder months. 

Back to top


There is no worse feeling that having a mechanical problem on the road and not having the tools and spares to fix it. Avoid this by carrying a basic set of spares and tools and learn to perform basic maintenance tasks, such as changing a tyre.

You can carry your spares on a saddlebag, on your jersey pockets or on an empty bidon in your bottle cage, depending on how old school you feel. But carry them.


Inner tubesUnless you have tubeless tyres, always carry at least two spare inner tubes on each ride. Some even recommend carrying one even if you ride tubeless in case you need to fix a catastrophic puncture.
Tyre leversEssential to help remove your tyre.
Mini pumpNo introduction needed. Some prefer nowadays the comfort of the CO2 canister, although there is the added waste they produce. 
Multi toolA multi tool with a chain breaking tool can get you out of many tricky situations, such as a loose saddle or handlebar.


Puncture repair kit If you are diligent and comply with the above you should be able to get out of most situations. A double puncture is already a curse, let alone a triple one... for those cases having these with you can save your day.
Quick linksA chain snap in uncommon, but very easily fixed with one of these. They put the chain back together almost in no time and with no effort.

Back to top


Except for the shortest rides, those under two hours, you will need to carry with you - and consume - enough food and fluids to keep you going. Running out of carbohydrates can leave you feeling depleted and completely exhausted or, as it's commonly known, bonking.

Nutrition options are a personal choice, but it is essential to carry enough food with you to get you through your ride. Consider weather, distance, elevation... And always prefer to carry an extra couple of items that will return home untouched to having to ride the final hour of your ride on empty.

A useful video on bike nutrition can be found below.



Water, energy drinks, electrolytes, fruit juice... Always carry two bottles. During the warmer months you will probably need to top them up on the go.

Solid food

Bananas, sandwiches, energy bars, granola bars, gels, dates, cakes, chocolate bars, jelly snakes, jelly babies, frozen hot cross buns, boiled new potatoes, pizza... the list of items people put in their back pockets to fuel their ride is endless.

If you are not used to eating on the bike you will have to experiment to find what works for you and practice eating while riding, as this is a vital skill to avoid depletion.


Back to top

Essentials on every ride

The list below is a summary of the minimum equipment and extras you will need to carry with you on every ride.

BikeA road bike with drop handlebars, in proper riding condition (tyres pumped up, gears and brakes working properly).
HelmetCompulsory. You are not allowed to ride without one.
KitDress appropriately for the weather. Carry an extra layer if conditions are changing.
At least two inner tubes, tyre levers, mini pump and a multi tool. 
NutritionFluids and solid food enough to keep you going during the ride.
Mudguards and lights
Depending on the season. Mudguards are mandatory during wet autumn and winter.
Money and phone
They can help you to get back home. You can also keep the route on your phone.

Back to top

Contact us

General enquiries:

Find the right email from our contact list

Follow us

© 2023 Clapham Chasers

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software