Serpentine Cycling

Serpentine rides out on a Sunday (and occasionally Saturday) from various locations including Richmond Park for Surrey and Windsor rides, Hackney Town Hall for Essex rides, and Greenwich for Kent rides. There are also trips further afield to the Chilterns and local sportives. Additionally, there are occasional introductory sessions to teach group riding skills and all year round you'll find us at our own spinning classes. You can get more information from the cycling co-ordinator. From time to time there are specific training rides planned, such as Ironman preparation rides or rides to teach skills and group riding technique, and these will be listed on the events planner.

Who can come?

You have to be a Serpentine member; we do have good reasons for insisting on this. Additionally you should:

  • Be properly equipped and prepared to fix ‘mechanicals' and get yourself home.
  • Be capable of the distances. The shortest ride we do is about 80 km. If you're unsure whether you can mange this you can try the routes here yourself first. Or try doing 7 to 8 laps of Richmond Park (without getting bored!)
  • Be comfortable riding on roads with other traffic.
  • Be comfortable riding in a group and have read our guidelines for group riding.
  • Be riding drop a handlebar road bike. Hybrids or mountain bikes will not be able to maintain the pace required for group riding. This also applies to skills introductory rides.

How fast do we go?

We aim to get two different speed groups out most weeks, and the average pace for the day will be included in the email and in the post on the Serpie Facebook group. For your own enjoyment, you must have a good idea of your pace before joining a ride and the following test will give you an idea.

Time yourself doing a fast lap of Richmond Park, your time will put you into one of these categories.

  • Fast = under 19 minutes
  • Fast medium = 19-21 minutes
  • Slow medium = 21-23 minutes
  • Slow = 23-25 minutes

If slower than this then you need to train some more on your own to be able to keep up. As a rough guide, the two slower speeds would equate to an average pace of about 22 - 23 kph on the Essex route and the faster two to about 25 - 26 kph.

Note that this test simply places you in a suitable group and is not an indicator of each group's kph speed. Also, being able to ride a short distance fast is no indicator of how you will cope with distance and hills. If you join a ride that is too fast do not expect the others to wait for you; it is up to you to drop back and either ride alone or join a slower group further back on the road. 

Let the ride leader know if you are dropping off.

Some slower groups may be less ruthless but if your concern is that you don't know if you can stick with the pace or manage the distance then our advice would be that if you carry a map, phone and money you'll always be able to escape if necessary. There are several train stations not far off all the routes. There will always be variations in ability within a group but we attempt to keep the gaps as small as possible. We still wait for each other at the top of the hills and if a rider has a puncture.

Introductory Group

This is a coached session open to members of the Serpentine club that stays within either Richmond Park or Regent's Park and focuses on learning the bike skills required to ride in a group. This session is pitched at novice riders but is suitable for anyone who needs to learn or improve bike skills. These happen on an ad-hoc basis, so please contact Serpentine's cycling co-ordinator if you would like to attend.

Ride leaders

Rides are led by volunteers who are not coaches. At all times you have to take responsibility for your safety and that of the whole group, but please heed the ride leaders' advice and instructions. If you are unfamiliar with the etiquette of group riding (most triathletes aren't!) then these folks will be more than happy to advise you, but you have to ask for them to be able to help. We are always looking for people to lead rides, especially the intro group. If you are willing to help get in touch with the cycling co-ordinator.

Other opportunities for group rides

As well as rides organised by Serpentine, many club members get together in smaller groups to organise cycle rides of various lengths and departing from different parts of London. If you'd like to plan a ride or find out what people are planning for the coming weekend/s, please join the Serpie Facebook group. Please note that the rides posted there may be organised by individuals and not by Serpentine, so anyone joining in takes part at their own risk.