At Windrush Cycling we regard your personal safety as paramount.
All of our cycles are well maintained and serviced after every hire by an experienced mechanic. Please always use a properly fitted cycle helmet. See and be seen – we strongly recommend the wearing of brightly coloured or high visibility clothing. For comfort, padded cycling shorts/leggings and padded cycling mitts are essential. On sunny days, sun cream should be used for exposed skin. Remember to drink to keep hydrated – we can supply isotonic drinks and gels for cyclists intent on serious exertions. To keep your-self safe in an emergency remember to take a mobile phone. Use the emergency number 112 as this will scan for any available network and the emergency services can use triangulation to locate your position, even if you are unable to tell them where you are.
The routes used are all public roads. Most of the lanes and minor roads are subject to very little traffic, but and it is important that cyclists abide by the Highway Code, show consideration to other road users and cycle responsibly at all times. Hazards encountered on rural roads include pot-holes, horses, blind bends, steep descents, pedestrians, traffic/large agricultural vehicles and other cyclists.
Pot Holes – recent hard winters have left a backlog of pot-holes on many roads in the Cotswolds. They are easily avoided if riders are vigilant and ride with caution down steep hills and deeply shaded stretches of road. If riding in a group anyone who spots a hole should shout “hole” and point to its location if it is safe to remove a hand from the handlebars. In a larger group, it is important that this information is passed quickly to every rider so that everyone has time to respond. Hazards like loose gravel or large debris should be communicated in a similar way.
Horses – the quiet roads we prefer to use are often popular with horse riders. Horses can sometimes be startled by if they are approached quickly and silently. Horses have excellent hearing and will recognise the familiar sound of human voices. Always slow down and pass horses wide, in single file and be prepared to stop. When approaching horses (particularly from behind) make polite conversation in your group so that the horse knows that there are people about, slow down and say, “ Good morning/afternoon,” to the rider in a normal voice (don’t shout) when about 20m away – they might not know that you’re there, even if the horse almost certainly does!
Blind bends and steep descents – for every up there is a down and having worked hard on a climb it is natural to want to speed down the corresponding descent. Good riders risk assess every down hill. Generally, if you can’t see where the hill bottoms out, then it is advisable to proceed with caution – it isn’t always easy to make a sudden change of direction at speed. On any stretch of road, treat any blind bend with caution even if you can’t hear anything coming. Always slow down and proceed in single file.
Traffic and large agricultural vehicles – always cycle so that other road traffic can pass safely. On single track roads it may occasionally be very difficult for vehicles to pass, so be considerate; stop carefully and pull over to let them through. Be aware that riders in a group may not be able to hear traffic approaching – shout “Car up,” if there is a vehicle approaching from behind the group and “Car down,” if there is a vehicle approaching from the front.
Other cyclists – cycling in a group is great fun and safe, provided all members use common their sense. Communication of hazards is vital in a group as those at the back can’t see what on or in the road. In addition to calling and pointing at pot-holes, gravel or debris an important protocol is to signal hazards like parked cars or walkers in the road (left hand behind the back pointing right to keep right, right hand behind back pointing left, to keep left).
When riding on the front, tell the other members in the group when you are slowing down or stopping and never stop suddenly – it is very difficult for back riders to anticipate sudden changes. Similarly, keep a consistent line and speed and, let other riders know when you intend changing position in the group.
If riding two abreast, be mindful of the road width and traffic. Keep in neat pairs and avoid over-lapping wheels or “half-wheeling” to prevent wheel contact.