Join the Vukani train
Club rides start at 05h30 in summer and start at 06h30 in winter. Club rides are divided into short rides and long routes
The Club routes are very exciting and provide beautiful scenery. The Basic routes are:
- Klapperkop Route which is takes the riders to the monstrous yet beautiful Klapperkop in the Central Pretoria.
- Harties Route which is takes the riders to Harties and back to Grey Owl Centre in Centurion Pretoria.
- Cradle Route takes the riders to the beautiful and much adored Cradle of Humankind, where the majority of the cycling community in Gauteng meet
- Greenstone – Pomona Route takes riders on the fast flat terrains of the East Rand, where riders are faced with challenging drags at a medium to high tempo.
- Greenstone Mall to Irene and back to Greenstone Mall
- Carnival City Engen garage to Suikerbosrand (1 loop in Suikerbosrand) and back to Carnival City Engen garage.
guidelines to riding with vukani
Code of conduct
The aim is to have Fun whilst adhering to the guidelines of safety.
It is the immediate responsibility of the nominated Route Captain/s to assist in maintaining the safety of the group. Ride rules are implemented for SAFETY and ACCOUNTABILITY. Riders not adhering to the ride rules, creating hazards in the formation, during a club ride, etc., these riders will be warned by the Captain or other riders in the group. Depending on the severity of their actions, riders will be removed from the club ride and shown/escorted to a route the rider can take back by the Captain in charge. Although the Route Captain/s will do all they possibly can to assist with the safety of the group, it is ultimately the responsibility of each rider to insure their own personal safety.
- All Riders Must Wear an Approved Bicycle Helmet. Riders failing to comply will not be allowed to participate in any ride until they have and wear a helmet.
- All club members must wear their Vukani club kit to assist the Route Captain/s and support vehicle to identify club members.
- All riders must have adequate liquid hydration and are encouraged to have food/fuel, repair items like spare tube and air supply. Cell phones are also encouraged.
- Any rider having a health or other concern must bring it to the attention of the Route Captain/s prior to departure.
- The Route Captain/s will be one of the Club Officers participating.
- Route Captains are overall responsible for the ride in the broad sense.
- They ensure that the minimum safety requirements are meant.
- May Break down groups according to skill level, as/when or if necessary.
- Identification of new riders and assign them to the appropriate groups.
- Provide the pre-ride safety and route briefing prior to group departure.
Group Rides AKA The Vukani Trains:-
Group rides will be broken down into ability level groups Competition/Training, A, B, C on Saturdays, Sundays and other planned Rides. Pace outline is below for reference.
- “A” aka The Snakes: Is the fastest pace group requiring riders having an above average skill set for riding in groups under higher physical stress. This group is the fastest group with overall averages of 31 – 40 km/h with warm-up pace at about 28 – 32 km/p. The “A” group is not for individuals who have little group riding experience. Normally there are interval efforts where the pace is increased for a nominal period of time or distance as well as various “Sprint Points” where those that want to try and push themselves can do so in a semi-competitive effort. Be prepared to take care of yourself in case you cannot maintain the pace or distance of the intended ride. If you are ‘Dropped’ you may be able to join the “B” group or following group (if there is) if they are on the same route. There will be a couple of re-group points that the group will wait at if necessary, provided that those that are dropped are reasonably close. Remember the “A” group is not a competition ride. Remain as a group throughout the ride.
- “B” Team “B” is focused on endurance riding and rider development. It is for those that have a moderate to higher level of fitness capable of maintaining a 25 – 35 km/h pace for 50 plus kilometres. Have the necessary riding skills in a group environment like that of the “A” group but not at the faster pace. The “B” group is not for individuals who have little group riding experience. Normally there are surge efforts where the pace is increased for a nominal period of time or distance as well as various “Sprint Points” where those that want to try and push themselves can do so in an unstructured semi-competitive effort. Be prepared to take care of yourself in case you cannot maintain the pace or distance of the intended ride. The “B” group will have a support vehicle that will follow behind the group and offer assistance if and when required. If you are ‘Dropped’, there are a couple of re-group points along the route. Remember the “B” group is social ride and remain as a group throughout the ride.
- “C” Team “C” is focused on general fitness and basic to intermediate riding skills in a group. It is for those that are getting back into cycling after a long break or starting out in group riding and have the physical fitness level that allows them to go moderate distances and a lower average pace than that of the “A” or “B” groups. In general, this classification will observe an average speed 18 – 28 km/h depending on the terrain. Rest stops and other periodic breaks are planned. The “C” group may include newer riders working on developing their skills and pleasure who don’t want the pressure of “slowing down” the faster groups. You are responsible to let someone, preferably the group leader know if you are having difficulty in keeping up with the group or are having a mechanical problem. This group is a “No-Drop” group and will remain as a group throughout the ride.
ALL Group rides will allow for a warm-up period/distance at a more moderate pace compared to the planned average speed for the particular ride. Group leaders will need to make the determination and brief the intent prior to the start of the ride.
Group Ride Conduct (The typical scenario for a group ride will follow or include the items below at a minimum.)
- Initial ride brief to include overview, goals, safety issues to include any known road or traffic issues as well as any weather concerns, and group leader introduction.
- Insure all participants have and will wear an approved bicycle helmet at all times. If anyone does not have a helmet and another one is not available, those persons will not be allowed to participate in the ride.
- Identify new riders and abilities.
- Route Captain/s will assist by placing them into the closest matched group.
- Break down who is riding with which group
- Explain plan ride route if needed.
- Reinforce staying with the plan. Riders that want to leave the group once the ride has begun must let the Route Captain/s know so they can maintain accurate count and not think they have “lost” someone. Riders that fall back and want to ride with a slower group may do so. Just let the group leader know. It is best to wait for another group at either a planned regroup point or a planned rest stop.
- Each ride will have Regroup points on the planned route. Regroup points or rest stops will allow the last rider in the group to arrive and have a minimum 5-minute rest. Route Captains are responsible for their nominated group. Individuals are responsible to let the route captain know if they are having problems or anything else that might be a concern or safety issue.
- Regroup points are also on an as needed basis. In the event a rider falls back, the group will (if not already slowing down) stop at or slightly before the next turn/intersection in a safe manner. Wait for the rider(s). Determine if there are any concerns, continue the ride.
- Sprints and breakaway’s are not discouraged but should be briefed prior to departure if they will or there is a possibility of occurrence
- In the event of mechanical breakdown or a flat tire the Support Vehicle if available will stop and provide assistance as necessary and bring the rider back to the group alternatively the group involved will stop, provide assistance as necessary, and then continue as a group. Team “A” aka the Snakes may or may not stop to provide assistance. If another group comes upon an any rider who has a mechanical problem, flat or safety issue it will be the discretion of the group leader whether to stop or not. In these events the group leader will have the group stop in a safe location and provide assistance.
- There will be a support vehicle per planned club ride
Safety / liability issues:
- STOP signs and traffic signals. By law, bicycles must follow all motor vehicle laws and regulations. Do not run stop signs. When in the lead and you determine the road crossing is clear, make sure it is clear for the whole group to cross safely. Following riders should always double check crossing an intersection and not just relying on the rider in front of them to make sure it is clear.
- Wearing of an approved bicycle helmet is mandatory for ALL riders participating in ALL club rides or any riding event the club is a part of.
- Listening to music(through earphones) is not prohibited however it is not advisable to do so during a club ride.
- Knowledge of new riders and abilities
- Riders will ensure that their bicycles are safe and serviceable. If a bicycle appears to a Group leader or Ride Captain to be a safety hazard to self or others, he/she has the responsibility to deny that individual inclusion into the group ride until the problem has been rectified.
Group Ride explained:
Leading: Riding on the front of the pack is a position of responsibility. Not only are you the eyes of the group, but more importantly you are the one responsible for making decisions that affect everyone else on the ride. What may be safe for you may not be safe for the other riders behind you. Running red lights, splitting cars, squeezing through traffic, etc., forces everyone behind you to do the same thing. Set a pace that is appropriate and keep the pace steady and smooth. A group bike ride is NOT a race. You are not to “attack” off the front or try to show everyone how strong you are. That’s what races are for.
Holding a line: To avoid overlapping wheels, ride as if you are on rails. Use verbal and hand signals to avoid obstacles in the road. Ride smoothly and predictably, do not accelerate or brake too quickly and announce when you are stopping or slowing. Do not at any time sprint ahead and disrupt the flow. Even if there is a corner coming up, stay side by side and go through the corner like a well-oiled machine. Riding with your bars ahead of the rider beside you is called “half-wheeling” and is a major faux pas. It’s up to you to keep up with the speed of the slower rider next to you. Try to keep to the side of the road, there is no need to take over the whole lane and annoy car drivers.
Following: There should be NO gaps in a group ride. As soon as you see a gap, fill it by riding into the space in a steady and controlled manner.
Peeling off: When you are tired of riding at the front and feel it is time to go to the back, make sure the rider beside you knows this. Once you have both established that you are going back, check briefly that there isn’t someone overlapping your back wheel, then both riders slowly and gradually move to the outside and let the group come through the middle. Do not suddenly veer off to the side, peel off in a steady and controlled manner.
Too tired to go to the front: If you do not want to go to the front, sit at the back and let the riders coming back from the front of the group slot in ahead of you. It is not acceptable to work your way up to the front of the group and slow down because you don’t feel strong enough to be at the front. If for whatever reason you do find yourself at the front, go through and take what is known as a “token pull”. You go to the front for a couple seconds, agree with the rider beside you that you are both peeling off, and go to the back.
Moving in a group: If you need to go to the back of the group, or need to move out away from the side of road because the road is damaged (for example), just steadily move in whatever direction you want to go in. The key to all group riding is to do things gradually and steadily. Even if there is a rider right next to you as you pull out to the side of the road, if you do it gradually, the other rider will naturally have time to move over with you. If you do anything sudden you will likely cause a crash. This is also very important when “peeling off” and “filling a gap”.
Obstacles and hand signals: All obstacles should be warned of by a simple hand signal. When you see an obstacle in the road ahead of you, put your hand down and give a signal that lets the riders behind you know if which direction they should go to avoid it. Traditionally a quick wave of the hand will suffice. It is NOT acceptable to yell, then weave around it at the last minute. If you only see the obstacle at the last minute, ride through it! Better to get a flat than to take down the whole group. An obstacle worth pointing out is one that will damage a bike or person behind you. Don’t point out manhole covers unless they are deeply set in the road, or leaves or small cracks in the road.
Slowing and adjusting speed: You should ride ever so slightly to the side of the rider in front of you; so when they slow down, you either stop pedaling and start to slightly overlap your front wheel with their rear wheel, or you touch the brakes gradually, once again using the “wheel overlap” as a buffer zone so as not to slow down too suddenly for the riders behind you. This is probably the biggest crash causer on group rides.