Frequently asked questions

We ask all riders to book a place beforehand. This is quick and easy to do using the buttons on the ride listings. You should also cancel your place if you later find you cannot come, so that the leader knows not to expect you.

You are welcome to contact the leader directly if you have questions that are not answered here.

You should also check the website before setting out for last minute changes, as we sometimes have to make late alterations to cope with railway engineering closures or for other reasons (such as unsafe riding conditions in wintry weather), and if you are joining us other than at the advertised meeting point youu should email or phone the leader beforehand to let them know.

There are rides to suit different styles, experience and fitness levels – choose a ride you'll enjoy. Note that the speeds quoted here are "moving averages" – they do not include time stopped. The shorter, easier rides will generally stop more frequently and for a longer time than the harder rides. Feel free to phone or email the ride leader about the distance and terrain to expect. And we do wait for the person at the back ... unless that person is so much slower that it threatens to spoil the ride for the group, in which case the leader may ask the rider to leave the ride.
These distances are for all-day rides, and speeds quoted are moving averages. We occasionally run half-day (morning or afternoon only) rides, in which case the star rating will indicate a ride at a similar pace but for a correspondingly shorter distance.
Easier and shorter rides, sometimes including themed rides in London of up to about 50km at 14 - 16km/h (30 miles at 9-10 mph).
Medium distance 55-85km at 17-22 km/h (35-55 miles at 11-14 mph) – steady pace yet time to enjoy lunch, etc. This group is recommended for most newcomers to our club.
Faster and generally longer at 70-110km at 21-25 km/h (45-75 miles at 13-16 mph) – often hillier – nearly always on-road – suitable for a light touring or road bike.
Faster again, typically 90–120 km at 24–27 km/h (55–75 miles at 15–17 mph), with a café stop. These are for riders who enjoy (or wish to discover) how a disciplined group enhances riding pleasure and speed. We aim to keep all who start the ride in the group, so please be sure the speed and distance are right for you – if in doubt, ask! Sometimes we take a train back to town, but not usually on the way out. Bring a lightweight road bike – with mudguards when roads are wet please.
Includes bridleways and tracks – great for gravel, adventure or "all-road" bikes, and fine for most touring and hybrid bikes with good tyres and mudguard clearance, but not suitable for lightweight road bikes.
Official Audax event – more info here – very popular with the more serious riders – however most of those included in our list are the shorter (100-200km) ones enjoyable for medium-paced riders.
Ride starts and finishes in Oyster/contactless zone.
LCC ride – joint ride with a London Cycling Campaign local group, and led by an LCC member.

We normally stop at a pub (or sometimes a cafe) for lunch unless otherwise stated. There are often morning coffee and/or afternoon tea stops as well but carry some energy food just in case.

Not usually later than 17.30 - 18.00 for the 1*, 2* and 3* rides (and somewhat earlier in winter). The 4* rides generally get back by mid-afternoon. We also run occasional half-day (morning or afternoon only) rides – this will be made clear in the ride description.

We return by train from the station we travel out to, unless otherwise stated in the listing, so a return ticket is generally best. Use a railcard if you have one, and if not ask if anyone else in the group has one – a Network Railcard gives a discount of 33% off on off-peak services, for up to three people in addition to the cardholder.

For journeys in the Oyster zone using an Oyster or contactless card is more convenient and almost always cheaper.

Bicycle reservations are not required (nor indeed possible) on the trains we use for our day rides.

Cycles are permitted off-peak on London Overground, the Elizabeth line and some London Underground lines (Circle, District, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City and other non-tunnel sections).

We are not currently collecting money from riders. You can see our current financial position in our annual accounts.

You should, of course, bring enough money to cover lunch and any other refreshment stops, and your train fare.

No. Central London CTC are a local group of Cycling UK, but non-members are welcome to come along and try up to three rides without joining. If you then want to continue riding with us after the three rides you will expected to join Cycling UK.

For a 1* or 2* ride, almost any well-maintained hybrid, touring or road bike is OK. For 3* rides a road bike or light tourer, and for 4* rides a light summer or winter road bike (depending on season). On any type of ride in bad weather your fellow riders will appreciate you having full mudguards and ideally, a long rear mudflap.

Rides marked as including bridleways and tracks are great for gravel, adventure or "all-road" bikes, and fine for most touring and hybrid bikes with good tyres and mudguard clearance, but not suitable for lightweight road bikes.

Ensure your bike is roadworthy. Bring a spare inner tube and pump to fit your tyres, and tyre levers. You should also bring suitable clothing, including a waterproof and gloves. Lights are essential from October through to March when we are likely to get back into London after dark.

Keeping safe

  • When on narrow roads please help to ensure the group is aware of traffic: "car up" means a car behind is waiting to pass the group, "car down" that a car is approaching from the front. Please allow motor traffic (and faster cyclists) to overtake whenever safe and reasonable to do so.
  • Please signal potholes or other hazards to to other riders, and be aware of and act on the signals of others.
  • When slowing down or stopping please make sure you call "stopping" or signal, to avoid cyclists behind running into you. Once stopped please stay off, or to the side of, the roadway, keeping the road clear for others. Avoid stopping where you may not easily be seen, such as just after a bend or junction.
  • Please do not wear headphones – to ride safely in a group you need to be able to hear what's going on around you.

Keeping together

  • Please avoid riding ahead of the leader, unless invited to do so. If you do get ahead, please wait for the group at the next junction.
  • Where the group turns into a side road or at a T-junction, please ensure the rider(s) behind you have seen you turn. If no rider is visible, please wait at the turn until he or she arrives.
  • We usually appoint a backstop who will keep at the back of the ride to ensure no-one is left behind. If you decide to leave the ride before the end point, please let the backstop and/or the leader know.

Finally, please remember that you remain responsible for your own safety when riding with us and should always follow the Highway Code.

Cycling UK has produced a guide to cycling with groups like ours – read it here.